The Syria Institute (TSI) is an independent, non-profit, non-partisan research institution based in Washington, DC. Our mission is to inform smarter policy solutions for lawmakers and to advance the public’s understanding of the situation in Syria in order to help chart the course for a safe, stable, prosperous, and representative future for Syria and the Middle East region.


The ever-deepening Syrian crisis demands a stronger, more effective response from world leaders in order to save lives, stabilize the region, and address the growing threats to international security. TSI emerged out of the recognition that today, in the fifth year of the conflict, serious information and understanding gaps continue to hinder policymakers and influence the public’s response. With timely, high-quality, data-driven research and analysis we shape public discourse and empower decision-makers with innovative policy options.

TSI seeks to engage the general public with information products that are accessible and optimized for the digital age. In this manner, TSI brings more clarity and attention to complex issues in and around Syria that are often sensationalized or overly politicized. Reframing the debates at the domestic U.S. and international levels will both re-engage public interest and drive more responsible and realistic decision-making by our leaders.

In the long term, The Syria Institute aims to become a sustained resource for the responsible development of a future Syrian government. Policy think tanks can play an important role in good governance in developing countries by keeping their governments honest and accountable, proposing new policy initiatives, and nurturing domestic expertise.


The abundance of hostile actors on the ground in Syria makes it increasingly challenging for the international community to gain direct access to the country. As a result, information coming out of Syria is difficult to verify and vulnerable to distortion by interested parties, who frequently invent and report their own version of events. Foreign journalists and observers are at high risk of kidnapping, arrest, and assassination. Even local citizen journalists who document what is happening in their towns and neighborhoods are targeted both by extremist groups like ISIS, and the Syrian government.

At TSI we recognize the inherent challenges that the complex, dynamic, and oftentimes inscrutable scenario in Syria presents for researchers, however we feel that these challenges only make it more critical to devote our time and efforts to the task at hand. The information used to inform our publications comes from a variety of sources, including trusted contacts on the ground, open-source research, and discussions with regional and international stakeholders. We hold our research to high standards by using multiple sources to confirm information, understanding the nature of our sources, and being as transparent as possible about our methods and the level of confidence in our assessments.


TSI is a 501(c)(3) tax exempt nonprofit organization based in Washington, DC, and is led by Executive Director, Valerie Szybala. The Syria Institute was established in 2015 in response to the growing need for informed research and analysis of the situation in Syria. TSI was founded with the support of the Foundation for Justice and Development (FJD), a Michigan-based nonprofit organization that supports education and training programs among Syrian refugees to help lay the foundation for a brighter future. Visit them online at http://www.fjd-us.org/.

Check back often and follow us on social media for updates on our publications and continuing coverage and analysis of developments in Syria.