Who we are

Operations and Policy Center (OPC, formerly, Orient Policy Center) is an independent think tank and service provider based in Gaziantep, Turkey. Established in 2014, OPC conducts original research and provides consulting services to enhance policymaking, development programs, and humanitarian response projects. Syrian-led and owned, OPC combines local knowledge with technological and scientific expertise, utilizing in-house statisticians and graphic designers to create original and intuitive final products.

Between 2014 and 2018, OPC was an exclusive service provider to the Orient Research Center (ORC) in Dubai. Since then, OPC has focused on cultivating relationships with governmental and non-governmental bodies working in Syria or with the Syrian diaspora. Currently, OPC is in a stage of growth after significantly upscaling its capabilities due to increased demand from a growing clientele.

our team
Basel al-Junaidy

Basel al-Junaidy

CEO and Founder

Basel Al-Junaidy is the founder, owner, and CEO of OPC. During the Syrian revolution, Basel believed that an independent  and sustainable “think tank” in the Syrian context would be impossible without an innovative, for-profit business model. Basel is also a co-founder and operating director of Az Intelligence, a company headquartered in Dubai which runs online finance and retail investment outlets. He also serves as co-founder and Board Member of Kesh Malek, a nonprofit which advocates for human rights and education. Basel studied medicine and graduated as a doctor from YSMU in 2011, but has not practiced medicine since.

Mohammad Al-Khalili

Mohammad Al-Khalili

Chief Operating Officer (COO)

Mohammad has nearly a decade of successful management and leadership experience. He established the NGO service department at OPC. Mohammad works under the principle that all partners should enjoy their relationship with OPC while receiving the highest level of service. He therefore aims to closely and continuously match client needs with the Center’s areas of expertise, in order to tailor a successful experience for every client.  Before working full-time for OPC, Mohammad filled senior roles in several NGOs, and is a co-founder of several initiatives and organizations, including Kesh Malek, the Leishmania Initiative, and the Darna Center.

Karam Shaar

Karam Shaar

Research Director

Originally from Aleppo, Dr. Karam Shaar has lived in Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, and New Zealand. He was an activist for democratic reforms in Syria, but later fled the country and continued his activism from abroad. His research focuses on Syria’s political economy. Karam’s writings have been published in the Middle East Institute, Brookings Institution, The Carnegie Foundation, and The Guardian, and he has been interviewed and quoted by various media outlets including CNN, The New York Times, BBC, The Washington Post, CNBC, and Al Jazeera. He is a Non-Resident Scholar at the Middle East Institute and a former Senior Lecturer on Middle East politics.

Sultan Jalabi

Sultan Jalabi

Senior Research Fellow

Sultan is a social researcher focusing on issues of refugees, cross-communities’ relationships, socio-economic changes, and development studies. He has a special interest in research designing and methodology innovation. He studied sociology at Damascus University before continuing his Master’s in Development Studies at the Economic and Social Planning Institute ESPI. Inparallel, he worked as an investigative journalist for years and won the Samir Kassir Award for 2021. Sultan is a Cara Syria Program participant since 2019 and an Honorary Fellow at the University of South Wales.

Ashley Jordan

Ashley Jordan

Senior Research Fellow

Ashley Jordan is a researcher and MEAL specialist from the United States focused on humanitarian change. She holds a multidisciplinary Master’s degree in Migration Policy from Erasmus University, and a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Texas State University. Ashley’s research is motivated by a vision of humanitarian response that respects human dignity. Her specializations include migration and displacement, public policy, localization, accountability, and diaspora issues. She has a particular interest in these themes as they relate to the Syrian context and Syrian civil society.

Mohamed Kanjo

Mohamed Kanjo

Finance & Administration Manager

Mohamed studied medicine, in 2012 during his last year of study he volunteered as an Emergency Doctor in a field hospital in Aleppo. He also worked as an administrator in the Aleppo Medical Council. After leaving Syria, Mohamed contributed to the establishment of OPC in late 2014, as a Researcher and Administrative Manager. He moved to the Kesh Malek organization and managed the education and child protection program for four years, as well as being a board member. Mohamed returned to OPC in 2021 as a Finance & Administration Manager, bringing in almost 10 years of administrative experience within the humanitarian and development fields.

Motaessm Nawaf

Motaessm Nawaf

IT Manager

Motassem is experienced in e-Training and learning platforms, cultural heritage documentation using 3D modelling and virtual reality, information system analysis, database systems design and implementation, web applications, and services development. He holds a PhD in Computer Science from Jean Monnet University in France, and joint Master’s degrees in Computer Vision and Robotics from Heriot-Watt University (UK), the University of Girona (Spain), and the University of Burgundy (France). He also studied Computer Engineering at the University of Aleppo.

Mohamad Haddad

Mohamad Haddad

Communications Manager

Mohamad Haddad has built expertise in the fields of media development, freedom of expression and human rights. Previously, Mohamad led teams and managed projects for several Syrian organizations including The Day After, the Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression, and the Syrian Legal Development Programme; ensuring high quality implementation and fostering engagement with targeted audiences, relevant NGOs, as well as different stakeholders. Mohamad holds a B.A in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Petra in Jordan.

Rajy Aljoundy

Rajy Aljoundy

Senior MEAL Specialist

Rajy is a Senior MEAL Specialist with nearly eight years’ experience in the humanitarian field. He has worked as a project manager and MEAL specialist in several different organizations, in addition to being a community work trainer. Rajy is a graduate from Aleppo University’s Business Administration program and was a second-year Master’s student in Quality Management before his studies were interrupted by the conflict. As the senior MEAL specialist, Rajy sets up MEAL methodologies, develops workplans, and manages all MEAL projects. He leverages his long experience as a data analyst to analyze qualitative and quantitative data across OPC’s projects, including bidding on new projects.

Belal Abo Nabot

Belal Abo Nabot

Senior Field Coordinator

Belal Abo Nabot is an expert in program management and capacity building. He holds a B.A. in History from Damascus University. Belal is interested in conflict resolution and humanitarian response, and has developed deep relationships with community leaders across Syria. He has also run several programs in Syria from Turkey.

Nisreen al-Zaraee

Nisreen al-Zaraee

Research Fellow

Nisreen is interested in the political, economic, and social dynamics of the conflict across Syria. Though her graduate degree is in Postcolonial Literary Theory, her interests shifted with her engagement as an activist with Syrian CSOs since 2011 in the fields of non-violent resistance, women empowerments, and education.

Mossab Al Aryan

Mossab Al Aryan

MEAL Officer

Mossab Al Aryan is a MEAL Officer with six years’ experience in the field. He currently manages, supervises, and provides technical support to the TPM field team to make sure that all planned activities are implemented to standard and on schedule. He is also involved in technical planning, the development of toolsets, coding on Kobo, and data analysis using several softwares like Excel, SPSS, and Python. Before joining OPC, Mossab worked as a MEAL Officer and Field Coordinator with Trust Consultancy and Development. Mossab holds a B.A. in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from Çukurova University. Currently, He is studying for a master in Power System Analysis in Gaziantep university.

Ayham Barish

Ayham Barish

Data Analyst

Ayham Barish is a data analyst with more than 4 years of experience. He is skilled at a variety of data analysis, management, and visualization softwares including Power BI, SQL Server, SPSS, and Python. Ayham holds a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics, and has a professional certificate in Data Science from IBM.

Yasser Shikh Alachreh

Yasser Shikh Alachreh

Finance & Administration Coordinator

Yasser has more than eight years of experience in the field of financial and procurement management. He works to achieve financial transparency for OPC and to provide documentation and financial reports to partners in accordance with approved standards and policies. Before the displacement of Aleppo in late 2016, Yasser contributed to the establishment of several local bodies and events in non-government controlled areas. He previously worked for Adam Smith International, Horizons Academy, Research and Management Group, in addition to working for more than four years as a Financial Officer at Kesh Malek organization.

Samy Akil

Samy Akil

Research Fellow

Samy Akil is a researcher specializing in Syrian and Levantine affairs, with a focus on party politics, foreign policy, and conflict analysis. He holds a Bachelor of International Relations (Honours) from La Trobe University, Melbourne, and a Master of Middle Eastern & Central Asian Studies from the Australian National University (ANU), Canberra. He has published with the Middle East Institute and is co-founder and managing editor of the Near East Policy Forum at the Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies, ANU. He works at a Canberra-based diplomatic mission and is fluent in Arabic, English, and German.

Salah Alkhal

Salah Alkhal

Graphic Designer

Salah is a professional graphic designer with more than twenty-five years of experience. He studied at Damascus University, Faculty of Fine Arts, Department of Visual Communication. The diversity of his work was an important source for building high expertise. He worked with Basma and Zaytouna Organization for several years and was one of the founders of the Communication Department. He worked in the past to support several cultural projects in the city of Aleppo, including the International Photography Gathering and Women around the World. Honorary Member of Kirayak Culture and Kirayak Immigration Studies Organization (Turkey).

Hashem Hajbakri

Hashem Hajbakri

Graphic Designer

Hashem Haj Bakri is a former photojournalist from the city of Latakia, where he worked with a number of different media outlets from 2011 to 2017. Hashem started learning graphic design and illustration in 2017, and is currently enrolled at Istanbul University, studying Cinema and Television.

Dima Dehni

Dima Dehni

Content Creator and Research Fellow

Dima joined OPC in 2014, where she developed her research skills by working on dozens of projects and later helped found the organization’s media unit. She currently focuses on digital content creation and social media outreach. She is passionate about female and youth participation in the public and political sphere, and wants to use digital technology to reach this audience with innovative, research-based methods. Dima is a 2018 Political Science graduate from Sabahattin Zaim University in Istanbul. She completed a training program in Governance and Peacebuilding with George Mason University in 2019.

Rand Aljunaidy

Rand Aljunaidy

Marketing & Communication Associate

Rand holds a Bachelor’s degree in business and management from IESEG School of Management in Paris where she is currently completing her Master’s degree in Marketing. As part of an exchange programme, Rand also studied marketing and entrepreneurship in the University of Glasgow in Scotland. During her Bachelor’s, she volunteered as a communication and event manager in a French association in Paris.

Maysaa Almasalmeh

Maysaa Almasalmeh

MEAL Officer

Maysaa Almasalmeh is a MEAL Officer with four years’ experience in the field. She currently manages, supervises, and provides technical support to the Third-Party Monitoring field team to make sure that all planned activities are implemented to standard and on schedule. She is also involved in technical planning, the development of toolsets, and report writing. Before joining OPC, Maysaa worked as a MEAL Manager at the NGO Syria Bright Future, and as a community center manager at Al Zahraa University. Mayssa is a graduate from Damascus University’s Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Chemistry faculty. She holds a Master’s degree in Laboratory Diagnosis.