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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

This Policy Dialogue looked at the situation in Idlib, the last stronghold of the rebel and jihadist groups that have been trying to overthrow Syrian President, Bashar al-Assad since 2011. Since the end of 2019, Idlib has been under massive pressure by Syrian President al-Assad’s forces, backed by Russian airpower. In early March, Turkey launched military operation against Assad dubbed “Spring Shield” after regime airstrikes killed 34 Turkish soldiers. While a ceasefire deal was reached on 5 March, the situation in Idlib remains extremely fragile. Previous ceasefires have collapsed. Our panel of experts addressed a number of key questions including: the priorities of Moscow and Ankara; how sustainable is Turkey-Russia cooperation in and around Idlib given the different objectives of Ankara and Moscow; how will Ankara’s relationship with groups such as Hei’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) evolve; what is the approach of Washington; could the EU play a larger role; what would be the impact of a further full-scale offensive from Assad; and how has the COVID-19 pandemic affected the conflict?

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