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Fence Sitter, Sanctuary, Hesitant Supporter? – What’s Europe’s Role in the Syrian war?

FOURTH EPISODE of the five-part online event series „Syria – The war on Europe’s doorstep“. Start: 17:30h (MESZ)



The Syrian war takes place in Europe’s immediate neighborhood. In recent years, many Syrians have found refuge in European countries. For the foreseeable future, they will not return but stay and contribute to Europe’s future. Despite this strong interdependence, many observers blame Europe for its hesitant Syrian policy. It is a common assessment that – apart from humanitarian aid – the European commitment to the Syrian conflict was rather limited in the past. • What role has Europe played in the Syrian conflict in the past? •  Are there any leverages left for the Europeans to impact on the current situation? • What should Europe do in the future? START 17.30h/5.30 p.m. (MESZ)

Fourth episode of the five-part online event series „Syria – The war on Europe’s doorstep“.

The event takes place via Zoom. After registration you will receive further information and an access link one day before the event.




Donnerstag, 09.07.2020
17:30 Uhr
moderated discussion

Muriel Asseburg, Senior Fellow, Research Division Middle East and Afrika, SWP (German Institute for International and Security Affairs), Berlin

Lina Khatib, Director, Middle East and North Africa Programme at Chatham House, London

Salam Kawakibi, Director, Centre Arabe de Recherches & d’Études Politiques, Paris

Presentation: Thomas Müller-Färber


all participants


Muriel Asseburg
is a Senior Fellow in the Middle East and Africa division of Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik (SWP), German Institute for International and Security Affairs in Berlin. Her current research is focused on conflict dynamics and peace-making in the Levant (Israel/Palestine and Syria, in particular); German, European and US Middle East policies; as well as questions of state building, political reform and security in the Eastern Mediterranean. Asseburg is a member of the Scientific Committee of the European University Institute’s Middle East Directions Programme, the International Advisory Board of Mediterranean Politics and the Advisory Board of the Zeit-Stiftung’s Ph.D. programme "Trajectories of change. Ph.D. Scholarships in Humanities and Social Sciences". In recent years, she headed research projects on “Transformation, elite change and new social mobilisation in the Arab world” (2012-2015) and “The fragmentation of Syria” (2014-2015). From 2006-2012, she headed the research division. Asseburg studied political science, international law and economics at Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich where in 2000 she obtained a Ph.D. with a thesis on “Palestinian State and Nation Building in the Interim Period”. She has also lived, studied, and worked in the USA, Israel/Palestine, Syria, and Lebanon.
Salam Kawakibi
Salam Kawakibi is Director of the Arab Centre for Research and Policy Studies in Paris. Political scientists and international relation researcher, he holds a Professorship in the Masters’ Programme on Development, Immigration and Crises at Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne. Between 2007-2017, he served as Deputy and Research Director at the Arab Reform Initiative (ARI). Between 2009-2011, Mr. Kawakibi was Senior Researcher in the Department of Political Science in the University of Amsterdam. Before that, from 2000 to 2006, he served as the Director of the Institut français du Proche-Orient in Aleppo. Salam Kawakibi holds a DEA in Political Sciences from l'Institut d’Etudes Politiques, Aix-En-Provence, a DEA in International Relations from Aleppo University and a BA in Economy from Aleppo University.
Lina Khatib
Dr Lina Khatib leads the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Chatham House. She was formerly director of the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut and co-founding Head of the Program on Arab Reform and Democracy at Stanford University’s Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law. Her research focuses on the international relations of the Middle East, Islamist groups and security, political transitions and foreign policy, with special attention to the Syrian conflict. She is a research associate at SOAS, was a senior research associate at the Arab Reform Initiative and lectured at Royal Holloway, University of London. She has published seven books and also written widely on public diplomacy, political communication and political participation in the Middle East. She is a frequent commentator on politics and security in the Middle East and North Africa at events around the world and in the media.