In Syria’s civil war, now entering its 12th year, the state/nonstate divide has become increasingly blurred. Nowhere is this more evident than in the practices adopted by ruling elites in regime- and opposition-held areas to ensure access to resources. Over time, both state actors and nonstate armed groups have produced parallel, interconnected, and interdependent political economies in which the boundaries between formal and informal, licit and illicit, regulation and coercion have largely vanished. Border areas in Syria now constitute a single economic ecosystem, linked by dense ties among networks of traders, smugglers, regime officials, brokers, and armed groups. Competing zones of political control have had little effect on economic collaboration across conflict lines. When it comes to trade, pragmatism reigns.
Syria’s dissolving line between state and nonstate actors (brookings.edu)