Several studies have pointed to a link between climate change and the civil war in Syria, which started in 2011 and is still ongoing as of 2015. The direct causes of the conflict relate to popular discontent with the government. Yet the mishandling of a major drought in the preceding years likely fed into this discontent, and climate change increased the likelihood for such a drought.
In recent years, there has been an increase in incidences of water-related violence around the world at the subnational level attributable to the role that water plays in development disputes and economic activities. Because conflicts are rarely, if ever, attributable to single causes, conflict analysis and concomitant efforts at reducing the risks of conflict must consider a multitude of complex relationships and contributing factors. This paper assesses the complicated connections between water and conflict in Syria, looks more broadly at future climate-related risks for water systems, and offers some water management strategies for reducing those risks.