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The Middle East Studies Forum is pleased to present
the fourth event in the Policy Dialogue series:
Proxy dynamics and peace in Syria.

This initiative is part of a Deakin University project ‘Assessing the impact of external actors in the Syrian and Afghan proxy wars’, funded by Carnegie Corporation New York (grant number: G-18-55949).

What impacts do the activities of proxy forces and external actors have on conflict and peace in Syria? Bringing together Syrian and international analysts, activists and researchers, this session will examine proxy dynamics between relevant regional and extra-regional actors. Through this dialogue, we wish to generate new understandings of proxy conflict and propose policy recommendations for peace and stability in Syria.

You can access the event flyer here

Discussion points

  • Foreign states will inevitably be involved in ending the Syrian war. How can we ensure that the needs of Syrians are prioritised in any peace agreement?
  • Will foreign states pose a barrier to the achievement of peace in Syria?
  • Foreign involvement has had a polarising impact on Syrians, particularly within the opposition. How can Syrians rebuild trust and put the legacy of polarisation behind them?
  • How can the future administration in the United States play a constructive role in the Syrian conflict?



Dareen Khalifa is a Senior Analyst at the International Crisis Group working on security, conflict, politics, and governance in Syria. Dareen has 13 years of experience working on the Middle East, with a particular focus on sub-state armed group dynamics, local governance, and civil society. She has worked on the Syria conflict in a number of roles since 2013, most recently with the Center for Humanitarian Dialogue (HD), regularly traveling to Iraq and Syria to engage with civilian and armed actors on initiatives to mitigate conflict.

Jasmine Gani is a Senior Lecturer in the School of International Relations and Associate Director of the Centre for Syrian Studies at the University of St Andrews. Her research and teaching focus on European and US empires in the Middle East and Asia, Middle East ideologies and social movements and anti-/decolonial political thought and theology. She is the author of The Role of Ideology in Syrian-US Relations: Conflict and Cooperation; and co-editor of the Routledge Handbook on the Middle East and North Africa State and States System, and The Syrian Uprisings: Actors and Dynamics in the Middle Phase of the Conflict.

Christopher Phillips is Reader in International Relations and a Deputy Dean at Queen Mary, University of London and an Associate Fellow at the Imperial War Museum. He has a PhD in International Relations from the London School of Economics and was previously the deputy editor for Syria and Jordan at the Economist Intelligence Unit and a fellow at Chatham House. He lived for several years in Syria and is the author of The Battle for Syria: International Rivalry in the New Middle East.

Rime Allaf is a Syrian-born writer and political analyst. A former Associate Fellow at Chatham House, she has published numerous analyses and articles on Syria and the region. She continues to write, speak and advise on Syrian affairs, and is on the Board of Directors of The Day After, a renowned Syrian-led civil society organisation working to support a democratic transition in Syria.


4 November 2020
Melbourne: 8-9:30pm GMT+11
London: 9-10:30am GMT+0
Please join us via Zoom*

Please RSVP to by 2 November 2020

*Attendees will be provided with a Zoom link and password to access the webinar via a calendar invite sent to the email address registered with on the 3 November 2020

Please note, registering for an event automatically subscribes you to the MESF event mailing list.