Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


International Relations

Reader 1

Hicham Bou Nassif

Rights Information

@2022 Sydney S Heath


This thesis explores the development of American policy in the Syrian Civil War, which began in 2011 and has caused the world’s largest refugee crisis, among other humanitarian issues. Through analyzing popular debates about U.S. foreign policy in Syria, this project attempts to determine how the United States should have responded to President Bashar al-Assad’s aggression towards his people in order to most effectively alleviate suffering. The analysis finds that the United States under President Obama missed a crucial opportunity to weaken Assad and prevent the suffering of millions of Syrians. This paper also explores the present day implications of President Obama’s mistakes in Syria, specifically referencing the lack of credibility that the United States has in conflicts like that of Russian and Ukraine. The final chapter presents a bleak outlook on the future of Syria and the possibilities for effective U.S. policy that would depose Assad and end the War. Assad will stop at nothing to remain in power, yet as long as he is in power, Syrians will see no peace.