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Online event
What next for Idlib?

Tuesday, 02 June 2020


Aaron Stein
Director of the Middle East Program; Acting Director, National Security Program Foreign Policy Research Institute, Washington DC
Julien Barnes-Darcy
Director, Middle East & North Africa Programme, European Council on Foreign Relations
Maxim Suchkov
Senior Fellow, MGIMO University; Expert at Russian International Affairs Council
Mustafa Aydin
Professor of International Relations, Kadir Has University, Istanbul


Amanda Paul
Senior Policy Analyst, European Policy Centre

After more than 9 years of fighting, the rebel stronghold of Idlib in northwest Syria has become the focal point of the war. Since the end of 2019, Idlib has been under massive pressure by Syrian President al-Assad’s forces, backed by Russian airpower. Tens of thousands of civilians have found themselves caught in the crossfire, resulting in enormous bloodshed and triggering a humanitarian crisis. Over one million displaced Syrian civilians, most of them women and children, have moved to camps along the Turkish-Syrian border. Turkey already hosts almost 4 million refugees.

In early March Turkey, which already had forces on the ground in Idlib, launched a military operation against Assad dubbed “Spring Shield” after regime airstrikes killed 34 Turkish soldiers. A ceasefire deal was reached in early March between the Russian and Turkish Presidents, but the situation in Idlib remains extremely fragile. The COVID-19 outbreak has added another layer to an already complex humanitarian crisis.

Our panel of experts will share their views on the situation in Idlib and scenarios for the future. They will drill down on the objectives of Russia and Turkey, along with the policies of the United States and the EU. The impact of COVID-19 on the conflict and the role of other actors, including jihadist groups, will also be assessed.

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