Elizabeth Tsurkov is a Non-Resident Fellow at the New Lines Institute, and a Research Fellow at the Forum for Regional Thinking, an Israeli-Palestinian think-tank based in Jersualem. She is also a doctoral student in the Politics department at Princeton University.
Her research focuses on the Levant, and particularly, the Syrian uprising and civil war. Her research is based on a large network of contacts – ordinary civilians, activists, combatants and communal, political and military leaders – which she has established across the Middle East and particularly in Syria, Iraq and Israel-Palestine. She has also conducted fieldwork in Syria, Jordan, Iraq, Turkey and other countries in the region. Elizabeth has over a decade of experience in volunteering and working for human rights organizations in the Middle East fighting for the rights of Palestinians, refugees and migrants, torture survivors, human trafficking victims and ethnic and religious minorities. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, New York Review of Books, Haaretz, Foreign Policy and other outlets. She speaks English, Hebrew, Russian and Levantine Arabic.
Turkey’s proxy force, the Syrian National Army, was meant to further Turkey’s ambitions in Syria. Instead, the force has victimized Syrian civilians living in the areas under its control and damaged Turkey’s reputation as the group defies Ankara’s attempts to rein it in.
The issue of Syrian refugees has made the normalization of relations between the two countries more desirable, but neither Ankara nor Damascus would truly benefit from renewed diplomatic ties.
The economic meltdown in Syria has deteriorate to a point where Damascus is now incapable of catering to the basic needs of the middle class, which has remained loyal to the Assad regime. Despite this increasing disgruntlement due to the regime's inability to uphold its end of the social contract, Syrians residing in regime-controlled areas are unlikely to rise up because of the risks of repression and the lack of any alternatives. The process of regime decay, however, is accelerating because of these worsening social conditions.
The unfolding civil crisis between Israel and Palestinian factions in Gaza is already having significant effects in both the Middle East and the international community.