The last fighters standing: Turkey, the Assad government and the Kurdish YPG in the Syrian conflict

Tuesday 23 March 2021, 16:00 to 17:30

On 29-30 March 2021, the EU will host its fifth Brussels conference on Syria. The aim of this annual event is to contribute to the peace-building efforts in the war-torn country. In advance of this event and in the tenth year of the Syrian uprising, it is critical to reflect on the strategies of key actors with territorial control in Syria, namely Turkey and the Syrian National Army linked to it, the Syrian government (including Russia and Iran-linked forces) as well as the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) / People’s Protection Units (YPG) with their US ally. In this policy expert exchange, the speakers will offer their views on the nature, position and strategy of these three sets of actors respectively. The role of Russia, Iran and the US will be examined from the perspective of their linkage with Turkey, Damascus and the SDF/YPG.

This event will be held online, please register here to attend.


  • 16:00: Welcome and Introductory remarks, Dr. Hürcan Aslı Aksoy, Deputy Head, Centre for Applied Turkey Studies @SWPBerlin (Moderator)
  • 16:05 – 16:50: The nature and position of key armed actors in the Syrian conflict (Panel discussion)
    • Zafer KIZILKAYA, Adjunct Professor, Brussels School of Governance (BSoG) on Turkey and the forces linked to it.
    • Mohammad SALMAN, Senior researcher, Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) on Damascus-linked forces.
    • Erwin VAN VEEN, Senior Research Fellow, Clingendael Institute on the SDF/YPG and forces linked to it
  • 16:50 – 17:30: Q&A


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