This paper expands upon the thesis presented by Alistair Harris, CEO of the ARK Group DMCC, at the NATO Advanced Research Workshop: “Human Factors in the Defence Against Terrorism: The Case of Jordan” hosted from 21 to 23 November 2016. This paper argues al-Qaeda's main affiliate in Syria, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, and al-Nusra) is positioned to be one of the greatest beneficiaries from the confluence of two current trends in the Syrian Civil War: (1) the increasing likelihood of the preservation of the Assad regime, and (2) the mounting territorial losses of the Islamic State from coalition efforts in both Iraq and Syria. This paper assesses the civil war through the prism of these two trends, and considers what the success of al-Qaeda's Syrian franchise might portend for the global organisation.
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