To check the past events organised by the Programme, visit EVENTS 2016 (Archive)

Roundtable | Shifting the balance of power in north-east Syria @ Seminar Room, Villa Malafrasca
Nov 28 @ 9:30 am – 12:30 pm

On 9 October 2019, two days after President Donald Trump announced the withdrawal of US troops from the Syrian-Turkish border zone, Turkey launched Operation Peace Spring in north-east Syria. These developments led to a rapid and dramatic change in the military situation east of the Euphrates River, in a region which contains 80% of the country’s oil and gas resources.

This resulted in: the withdrawal from the Turkish border region of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), the backbone of which consisted of Kurdish fighters; the establishment of a new zone of Turkish influence in Syrian territory; and the return of Syrian regime forces east of the Euphrates. This also allowed Russia to increase its presence east of the Euphrates, playing the role of guarantor and mediator between Turkey, the regime and the SDF.

What are the objectives and strategies of the three main external actors (Turkey, Russia and the US)? What will the results be of the Russian-sponsored negotiations between the Kurdish Autonomous Administration and the Syrian regime? To what extent will the Syrian regime return east of the Euphrates and what will be the fates of the SDF and the Autonomous Administration? What are the possible scenarios of re-integrating the economy of north-eastern Syria with the rest of the country?

This roundtable is organized by the Wartime and Post-Conflict in Syria project (WPCS).

Everyone is welcome.


MEDirections Roundtable with Rebecca Murray | Libya’s endless war: Tripoli’s battlefield and its impact on the south @ Cappella, Villa Schifanoia
Dec 3 @ 11:00 am – 1:00 pm

Abstract | Rebecca Murray will present insights from her recent fieldwork in Libya, focusing on the situation since the launch of the self-styled Libyan Arab Armed Forces’ campaign on the capital Tripoli in April 2019, and the proxy war that’s ensued.

Drawing on extensive field experience in west and south Libya, the roundtable will aim to explore the current war in Tripoli from the perspective of the battlefield, residents and political actors, and its impact on Libya’s south. It will particularly question whether the conflict and wider developments – including the uptick in the activities of the US Africa Command (AFRICOM) in Niger and southern Libya – exacerbates the instability of social, political and security dynamics that have characterised the region since 2011.

Speaker | Rebecca Murray is a freelance journalist and field researcher who has focused on Libya since the aftermath of the 2011 revolution. She has travelled extensively across the country, and made frequent visits to southern Libya to understand the catalysts of conflict and the perspectives of local communities. She has authored field reports including Southern Libya Destabiized: The Case of Ubari (2017, Small Arms Survey) and contributed a chapter to The Libyan Revolution and its Aftermath (Oxford University Press, 2016), and reported for media including Vice News, Al Jazeera English, Middle East Eye and McClatchy.