Alice Fordham

Alice Fordham is an NPR International Correspondent based in Beirut, Lebanon.

In this role, she reports on Lebanon, Syria and many of the countries throughout the Middle East.

Before joining NPR in 2014, Fordham covered the Middle East for five years, reporting for The Washington Post, the Economist, The Times and other publications. She has worked in wars and political turmoil but also amid beauty, resilience and fun.

In 2011, Fordham was a Stern Fellow at the Washington Post. That same year she won the Next Century Foundation's Breakaway award, in part for an investigation into Iraqi prisons.

Fordham graduated from Cambridge University with a Bachelor of Arts in Classics.

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4:08pm

Tue June 3, 2014
Middle East

As Polls Close, Many Syrians Fear The Days To Come

Originally published on Tue June 3, 2014 8:03 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Syria's highly questionable, and carefully choreographed, election leaves many people concerned about how it may embolden President Bashar al-Assad. NPR's Alice Fordham has been talking with people inside Syria and in neighboring Beirut.

ALICE FORDHAM, BYLINE: At the end of the day, Assad will be able to show that there were many Syrians who vote for him because they want to or because he made them. It's a demonstration of power, either way.

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12:47pm

Sun June 1, 2014
Middle East

What Elections? Syrian Opposition Rejects Assad's Expected Win

Originally published on Sun June 1, 2014 2:02 pm

A mock election poster depicts Syrian President Bashar Assad as Mafia boss Don Corleone, with token candidates kissing his hand.
Ahmed Jalal/Kafranbel Syrian Revolution

Tuesday's elections in Syria are sure to result in another term for President Bashar Assad, even as the international community says his regime is responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of civilians.

The opposition is railing against his inevitable triumph.

At a demonstration Friday by some of the 1 million Syrians who have fled into neighboring Lebanon, the view on the election was clear.

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4:21pm

Wed May 28, 2014
Middle East

Force And Fear In The Air, As Syrian Refugees Go To Polls In Lebanon

Originally published on Thu May 29, 2014 4:02 pm

Syrian refugees in Lebanon are casting their votes ahead of Syria's presidential election next week. The election is seen as Bashar Assad's rigged bid for legitimacy — but many refugees believe that if they don't vote, they'll never be allowed back home.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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3:42pm

Tue May 27, 2014
Parallels

Smugglers Thrive On Syria's Chaos, Looting Cultural Treasures

Originally published on Tue May 27, 2014 8:16 pm

A Syrian policeman patrols the ancient oasis city of Palmyra in March. Many Syrian antiquities have been looted and smuggled out of the country during the past three years of civil war.
Joseph Eid AFP/Getty Images

Smuggling is a way of life in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley, just over the border from Syria. Driving along it, you see pale smugglers' trails snaking through mountain passes, and the guys who run touristy little antiques stores here say they can get you anything.

"Everything that have traditions and everything found in old houses," says Reda Ismail, who runs one of the many stores in the valley. Dealers say most things here are smuggled from Syria, and Ismail thinks these days it's more prevalent.

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3:28am

Tue May 27, 2014
Parallels

Beirut's Holiday Inn: Once Chic, Then Battered, Still Contested

Originally published on Tue May 27, 2014 5:13 pm

The Beirut Holiday Inn rises behind the man who built it, Abdal Mohsin Kattan, in 1975. The Holiday Inn was one of the leading hotels in Beirut at a time when it was the most glamorous city in the Middle East. But when the Lebanese civil war broke out in 1975, the hotel was fiercely contested by rival militias. Lebanese are still debating what to do with the building.
Thomas J. Abercrombie National Geographic/Getty Images

To check into Beirut's Holiday Inn these days, you need a permit from the army and the stamina to climb 26 flights of decaying stairs to the concrete carcass of a restaurant at the top that used to rotate.

This towering edifice may not look it today, but it was once the toast of Beirut, the most glamorous city in the Middle East before the 1975-'90 civil war turned the Lebanese capital into a byword for urban dystopia.

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2:48pm

Tue May 13, 2014
Parallels

Iraq Debates Law That Would Allow Men To Marry 9-Year-Old Girls

Originally published on Tue May 13, 2014 7:26 pm

An Iraqi schoolgirl passes a banner supporting a proposal that, among other things, would allow men to marry girls as young as 9. Opponents say it would mark a major setback for women and children. The Arabic on the banner reads: "The Jaafari Personal Status Law saves my rights and my dignity."
Karim Kadim AP

A stroll through the Baghdad Book Fair last month was a lesson in today's cultural norms in Iraq. The books — gold-embossed, neatly arrayed — were almost all religious, and most of the customers were men.

But in the middle of the white pavilion, a woman's voice rang out loud and strong. Fawzia al-Babakhan, a lawyer, delivered a blistering critique of a proposed law that would rewrite the rules for matters such as marriage and inheritance according to Shiite Islamic law.

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4:30pm

Wed May 7, 2014
World

Syrian Rebels Cede Stronghold After Over A Year Under Siege

Originally published on Tue June 10, 2014 9:59 am

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

There's a development today in Syria's civil war. Syrian rebels surrendered control of an important piece of ground, the city of Homs. That's been the heart of uprising against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Hundreds of rebel fighters abandoned the city's central district. They left in rickety green buses, escorted by the United Nations. The rebels had been under siege and were running out of ammunition and food.

For more on the story, we're joined by NPR's Alice Fordham. She's in Beirut.

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1:21pm

Wed May 7, 2014
The Two-Way

A Symbol Of Syria's Uprising, Homs Reverts To Assad's Control

Originally published on Thu May 8, 2014 6:43 am

Rebels leave in green buses from the old city of Homs.
GhassanNajjar Twitter

The beginning of the end of the two-year siege of Old Homs came as green buses full of fighters bounced down uneven streets Wednesday — a scene that was captured in a photo that was retweeted hundreds of times.

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5:55pm

Fri May 2, 2014
The Two-Way

With Truce, Syrian Regime On The Verge Of An Important Gain

Originally published on Fri May 2, 2014 8:11 pm

Civilians and emergency personnel inspect the site of a car bomb explosion in the Abbasiyah neighborhood of Syria's central city of Homs on April 29.
AFP/Getty Images

The Syrian regime may be on the verge of an important gain in its civil war. Rebels say they have agreed to a conditional retreat from areas they hold in the city of Homs.

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4:21pm

Fri May 2, 2014
Middle East

An End In Sight For Siege Of Homs, As Syrian Rebels Plot Retreat

Originally published on Sat May 3, 2014 11:17 am

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel.

The Syrian regime may be on the verge of an important advance in that country's civil war. Rebels said today that they've agreed to a conditional retreat from parts of the city of Homs. The forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad have made a big push there lately.

NPR's Alice Fordham has the latest.

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