The Turkish army crossed the border into Syria on August 24 in an effort to help liberate Jarablus from ISIS. Free Syrian Army (FSA) forces, supported by Turkish special forces and F-16s, moved into the city to clear Jarablus of ISIS militants. The operation, dubbed Euphrates Shield, has received U.S. support but Turkey insists that the YPG forces need to pull back to the east of the Euphrates River, as was promised by the U.S. At the same time, Turkish President Erdogan expressed willingness to contribute to the U.S. plans to liberate Raqqa from ISIS.
Join us for a discussion on the implications of Turkey’s Jarablus offensive for the conflict in Syria and for U.S.-Turkey relations.
Bassam Barabandi, Political Advisor to the Syrian High Negotiation Committee
Nicholas Heras, Bacevich Fellow, Center for a New American Security (CNAS)
Kilic Kanat, Research Director, SETA Foundation at Washington D.C.
Denise Natali, Senior Research Fellow, National Defense University (NDU)
Moderated by Kadir Ustun, Executive Director, SETA Foundation at Washington D.C.
Bassam Barabandi is a defected Syrian diplomat who was First Secretary of the Syrian Embassy in Washington, D.C. He served diplomatic tours in Damascus, Beijing, New York and Washington, D.C. Since leaving the Syrian government, Mr. Barabandi has engaged in myriad activities providing expertise and consultation on all Syria-related matters to government agencies, administration officials and members of Congress. He is a co-founder of People Demand Change, a U.S.-based organization dedicated to improving conflict mediation and resolution, civil society structures and humanitarian relief within Syria. Mr. Barabandi has engaged with a number of pro-democracy organizations seeking a political transition in Syria. As such, he currently serves as a part- time consultant to groups like the United States Institute for Peace (USIP) and the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ASCWA). Prior to this, he was a consultant for the Syrian American Council (SAC), the largest Syrian-American organization in the U.S.
Nicholas A. Heras is the Research Associate in the Middle East Security Program at the Center for a New American Security and an Associate Fellow at the Jamestown Foundation. Nicholas has presented widely on the topic of the Syrian civil war and its impact on the greater Middle East region, including to U.S. CENTCOM, SOCOM, and the Department of State’s Policy Planning Staff. He has extensive, in-depth field research experience in all regions of Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan, and has also conducted substantive research in Turkey. Nicholas is the author of the monograph, Policy Focus #132, The Potential for an Assad Statelet in Syria, through the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP)’s Soref Fellowship program, and is a prolific author of timely, relevant, and actionable analysis on developments in the Syrian civil war for the Jamestown Foundation’s Militant Leadership Monitor and Terrorism Monitor.
Kilic Bugra Kanat is the Research Director at the SETA Foundation at Washington DC. He is also an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Penn State University, Erie. Dr. Kanat received his PhD in Political Science from Syracuse University; a Master’s degree in Political Science from Syracuse University; and a Master’s in International Affairs from Marquette University. He was awarded the Outstanding Research Award and Council of Fellows Faculty Research Award at Penn State, Erie in 2015. He previously participated in the Future Leaders program of Foreign Policy Initiative. Dr. Kanat’s writings have appeared in Foreign Policy, Insight Turkey, The Diplomat, Middle East Policy, Arab Studies Quarterly, Mediterranean Quarterly, Journal of South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, Journal of Balkan and Near Eastern Studies, and Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs. He is a columnist at Daily Sabah. He is the author of A Tale of Four Augusts: Obama’s Syria Policy. He is also co-editor of edited volumes History, Politics and Foreign Policy in Turkey, Change and Adaptation in Turkish Foreign Policy, and Politics and Foreign Policy in Turkey: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives.
Denise Natali is a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for National Strategic Studies (INSS) where she specializes on the Middle East, trans-border Kurdish issue, regional energy security, and post-conflict state-building. Dr. Natali joined INSS in January 2011 as the Minerva Chair, following more than two decades of researching and working in the Kurdish regions of Iraq, Turkey, Iran, and Syria. Dr. Natali is the author of numerous publications on Kurdish politics, economy and energy, including The Kurdish Quasi-State: Development and Dependency in Post-Gulf War Iraq (Syracuse University Press, 2010) and The Kurds and the State: Evolving National Identity in Iraq, Turkey and Iran(Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 2005), which was the recipient of the Choice Award for Outstanding Academic Title (2006) (Trans to Turkish Kurtler ve Devlet: Iraq, Turkiye ve Iran’da Ulusal Kimligin Gelismesi (Istanbul: Avesta Press, 2009). Dr. Natali received a Ph.D in political science at the University of Pennsylvania, a Master of International Affairs (MIA) at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs and a B.A. in government at Franklin & Marshall College.
Kadir Ustun is the Executive Director at the SETA Foundation at Washington, D.C. Previously, Dr. Ustun was the Research Director at the SETA Foundation at Washington D.C. He currently serves as an Assistant Editor of Insight Turkey, an academic journal published by the SETA Foundation. Dr. Ustun holds a PhD in Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies from Columbia University and a Master’s degree in History from Bilkent University. He has contributed to various SETA reports and his writings have appeared in various publications such as Insight Turkey, Al Jazeera English, Hurriyet Daily News, Daily Sabah, Mediterranean Quarterly, and Cairo Review of Global Affairs among others. He is also co-editor of edited volumes History, Politics and Foreign Policy in Turkey, Change and Adaptation in Turkish Foreign Policy, and Politics and Foreign Policy in Turkey: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives.