This article examines the classification of the current armed conflict in Syria under international humanitarian law. The article first sets out the factual background identifying the principal parties and their alignments and motivations. It then proceeds to examine the question of classification of conflict under international humanitarian law and discusses the contentious issue of the effect of lack of consent by the government of a State in relation to foreign intervention in an ongoing non-international armed conflict when such intervention is directed against one or more armed groups operating from within that State’s territory. It then proceeds to apply these factual and legal considerations to the complicated situation in Syria and identifies the parallel armed conflicts underway in Syria and their classification and sets out arguments as to why classification matters.
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