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Fabbe, Kristin and Hazlett, Chad and Sinmazdemir, Tolga (2019) 'A Persuasive Peace: Syrian Refugees' Attitudes Towards Compromise and Civil War Termination.' Journal of Peace Research, 56 (1). pp. 103-117.

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Abstract

Civilians who have fled violent conflict and settled in neighboring countries are integral to processes of civil war termination. Contingent on their attitudes, they can either back peaceful settlements or support warring groups and continued fighting. Attitudes toward peaceful settlement are expected to be especially obdurate for civilians who have been exposed to violence. In a survey of 1,120 Syrian refugees in Turkey conducted in 2016, we use experiments to examine attitudes towards two critical phases of conflict termination – a ceasefire and a peace agreement. We examine the rigidity/flexibility of refugees’ attitudes to see if subtle changes in how wartime losses are framed or in who endorses a peace process can shift willingness to compromise with the incumbent Assad regime. Our results show, first, that refugees are far more likely to agree to a ceasefire proposed by a civilian as opposed to one proposed by armed actors from either the Syrian government or the opposition. Second, simply describing the refugee community’s wartime experience as suffering rather than sacrifice substantially increases willingness to compromise with the regime to bring about peace. This effect remains strong among those who experienced greater violence. Together, these results show that even among a highly pro-opposition population that has experienced severe violence, willingness to settle and make peace are remarkably flexible and dependent upon these cues.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: civil war, civilian attitudes, framing experiments, peace, violence
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > Department of Politics & International Studies
ISSN: 00223433
Copyright Statement: © The Author(s) 2018. This is an accepted manuscript of an article published by SAGE in Journal of Peace Research, available online: https://doi.org/10.1177/0022343318814114
DOI (Digital Object Identifier): https://doi.org/10.1177/0022343318814114
Date Deposited: 20 Sep 2019 14:19
URI: https://eprints.soas.ac.uk/id/eprint/31612
Funders: Other

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