Over the past few weeks, the Islamic State (IS) militant group has claimed responsibility for a series of terrorist attacks in Egypt, Lebanon, France, and Tunisia. In response, France, Russia, and the United States of America have escalated airstrikes ostensibly aimed at IS targets. The growing internationalisation of the conflict presents higher costs and risks for all, as was made dramatically evident when Turkey shot down a Russian fighter jet earlier this week. Meanwhile, renewed diplomatic efforts to resolve the conflict in Syria face long odds. At a second round of international talks in Vienna on 14 November, just one day after the Paris attacks, members of the International Syria Support Group agreed to convene talks with Syrian government and opposition representatives by 1 January. The peace talks are to be held under the auspices of the UN. In this Q&A, Crisis Group’s senior analyst on Syria, NOAH BONSEY, looks at the complex military and political dynamics at play. By the INTERNATIONAL CRISIS GROUP.