Uprising and war in Syria have induced changes in urban policies towards informal settlements. Syrian urban policies in the 2000s set the issue of informal settlements as a priority item in the agenda. The reform of the legislative urban frameworks, designed with international assistance, and new master plans encouraged both their regularization / upgrading and their renewal (destruction / reconstruction). While competition between these models and objectives delayed decisions and program implementation in Damascus, the beginnings of the Arab Spring elsewhere in the region influenced the orientation of these policies, showing in which different ways urban planning can be used for strategic reasons. Initially, the Syrian uprising led to an inflexion of policies towards more social options for regularization. Subsequently, as it developed into an armed conflict, and with the escalation of physical destructions, the urban renewal option was favoured and overlapped military targets. In return, conflict, destruction and displacements have led to put all urban options back on the table for reconsideration, in the prospects of future reconstruction. This article discusses policies towards informal settlements in Syria before and during the uprising with a special focus on the case study of urban policies in the metropolitan area of Damascus.