Date of Award

Spring 5-5-2016

Degree Type


First Reader

Josef Olmert

Second Reader

William Christiansen


This senior thesis is an in depth analysis of the historical causes of the Syrian civil war. I argue that the main components leading to the civil war under Bashar al-Asad were as follows; Sectarian division, French intervention and mandates, Israeli & Syrian conflict, Egypt & Syrian Union, and Hafiz al-Asad’s rise to power. My research and analysis provided demonstrates that these previously mentioned historical stimuli have all amalgamated leading to the instability under Bashar al-Asad and ultimately the modern civil war we see today. The paper will also analyze the consequences of this instability seen in government and society, the source of the brutal civil war. These consequences include a look at Lebanon as a case study, the economy both domestically in Syria and internationally, demographic changes, and a focus on refugee movements seen today. It concludes with the establishment that the civil war is the result of not just one individual event, as is often argued internationally, but rather a conglomerate of deeply intertwined historical moments.

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© 2016, Chelsea Marie Baltes