In conclusion, both theories of realism and constructivism aim to explain the causes of conflicts between and within states in the globalised arena of international relations. The former theory relies on the ‘struggle for power’ assumption, while the latter focuses on the ‘centrality of identity’. Realism explains the Syrian conflict as a power struggle between different state actors, while constructivism identifies one of the causes of the conflict as the increasing rivalry between minority groups within Syria and the prevention of a unified Syrian identity. On their own, each theory is limited in its explanatory capability. It can therefore be argued that the complexity of the Syrian conflict requires both theories to be utilised to comprehensively understand the crux of dynamics of the conflict. This is crucially important especially with regards to the involvement of politically unique actors such as ISIS. ?A careful and deep critical analysis of this conflict, one of the worst of our times, is required to provide politicians with a sound understanding to better guide policy making.

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