Syria: Beyond the Red Line

Talk Thursday 21 May 2015, 7:00 PM


Red lines have been set and crossed, inquiries have been conducted and talks have been attempted, and yet the conflict in Syria continues to devastate the lives of its population. In what can only be described as one of the worst humanitarian crises in recent history, more than 200,000 have died and 12.2 million are now in desperate need of aid.

The levels of suffering are unimaginable and yet the international community seems to be standing by. Over four years since the conflict in Syria began, we will be asking if there is any sign of light at the end of the tunnel.

We will be reflecting on the decisions that have been made and how they have contributed to the current state of affairs in Syria. With that understanding, we will look at the situation in the country today and how developments could be made.

Chaired by Owen Bennett-Jones, freelance journalist and host of Newshour on the BBC World Service. As a correspondent with the BBC he has reported from over 60 countries. He is author of Pakistan: Eye of the Storm and his first novel Target Britain.

The panel:

Jonathan Littell is a novelist and journalist. He is the author of Syrian Notebooks: Inside the Homs Uprising, documenting his time in Hom in 2012. His novel The Kindly Ones, originally published in French as Les Bienveillantes, became a bestseller and won the coveted Prix Goncourt and the Académie Française’s Prix de Littérature. Previously he worked for a humanitarian agency, Action Contre La Faim, in Bosnia, Chechnya, Afghanistan and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Orwa Nyrabia is a Syrian film producer and activist. Born in 1977, raised in Homs, he lived in Damascus until the end of 2013. An actor by training, he worked as a journalist, and since 2005 has dedicated most of his time to documentary, producing the award-winning Silvered Water and Return to Homs. As an activist, he was a board member of the Syrian revolution’s leading constellation, Local Coordination Committees (LCC), served as LCC’s head of humanitarian aid and is associated with the Violations Documentation Center, a Syrian independent human rights organisation.

Laila Alodaat is a Syrian human rights lawyer specialising in international law of armed conflicts. She is also a trainer of international humanitarian law and has worked on several conflict situations including Syria, Libya, Iraq and Pakistan. She currently works on the MENA agenda programme at the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) and is also the Chair person of Syria Justice and Accountability Centre and a board member of Badael, a Syrian organisation working to promote non-violence.

Nerma Jelacic is a former journalist who has spent the last 15 years working on war crimes and criminal justice issues in conflict and post-conflict countries. From 2008 to 2014 she worked for the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia before joining the Commission for International Justice and Accountability (CIJA), an organisation investigating and documenting atrocities in Syria which has already resulted in the completion of three trial-ready case-files.


Photo: Ayman Oghanna. ALEPPO, August 3rd 2012. In areas liberated by the Free Syrian Army, protestors took to Aleppo’s streets to demonstrate against the Assad regime, following Friday prayers.