Conflict in the Time of Coronavirus: Russia, Turkey, and the Battle for Syria

 















On Thursday, March 26, CEPA  hosted a virtual panel discussion on the latest developments in the on-going conflict between Russia and Turkey over Syria, featuring insights from Max Bergmann, Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress, Amanda Sloat, Robert Bosch Senior Fellow at the Center on the United States and Europe, Brookings, Angela Stent, Director of the Center for Eurasian, Russian & East European Studies at Georgetown University, and Gönül Tol, Turkey Program Director at the Middle East Institute. The conversation will be moderated by CEPA Russia Program Director Brian Whitmore


Despite a recently negotiated ceasefire in Idlib, Russia and Turkey remain in a high-stakes showdown over power and influence in the Middle East that threatens to exacerbate Europe's refugee crisis as the coronavirus pandemic escalates. Turkey is determined to protect its border with Syria and prevent a fresh influx of refugees on its territory. Russia is just as determined to preserve Bashar al-Assad's Syria as a client state. These interests are clashing in Syria's last rebel stronghold, Idlib, with unpredictable consequences for European security. Both sides say they want to de-escalate, but neither side wants to back down, severely testing Moscow's fledgling and troubled partnership with Ankara as well as raising fears of a wider war and a renewed refugee crisis.

 

Participants considered: what are the wider implications for the Turkey-Russia relationship; what role should European allies play in the conflict between Ankara and Moscow; and how does the on-going COVID-19 pandemic affect the dynamics of the potential migration crisis? CEPA is hosting this event completely online.

Photo: "Vladimir Putin visited Khmeimim Air Base in Syria" by the Kremlin under CC BY 4.0.

 

Brian Whitmore

26 March 2020

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