The armed conflict in Syria has exemplified some of the most worrying features of contemporary warfare, such as indiscriminate attacks, the use of siege warfare, the fragmentation of non-State armed groups (NSAGs), the intervention of multiple external actors, attacks on cultural property and on medical personnel and health care facilities, and so on. Since the crisis first began in 2011, hundreds of thousands have been killed. Millions have been displaced, and homes, schools, hospitals, and essential services and infrastructure have been damaged or destroyed. Given the scope of the destruction, the significance of this conflict as a new paradigm of war and the utter contempt that has been shown for international humanitarian law (IHL), the Review chose to devote this issue to Syria. The articles in this issue, which highlight important insights from a humanitarian, legal, psychological and urban-planning perspective, unexpectedly provide a glimmer of hope for the country’s recovery.