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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Parallels
3:15 pm
Tue May 27, 2014

Smugglers Thrive On Syria's Chaos, Looting Cultural Treasures

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

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

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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Parallels
3:28 am
Tue May 27, 2014

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

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

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

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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Parallels
3:49 pm
Wed May 21, 2014

Despite Bloody Conflict, Iraq's Leader Looks Likely To Keep Power

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki votes in Baghdad on April 30. Maliki's alliance won the most seats in election results announced this week. But his party will still have to build a coalition with rival parties for him to keep the job he's had for the past eight years.
AP

Originally published on Wed May 21, 2014 6:11 pm

Iraq's election didn't make a huge splash in the U.S., but the results of the April 30 vote were released this week, and the outcome has important ramifications for Iraq and the wider region. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's party came out way ahead.

Iraq has faded from the American radar, but it saw nearly a decade of U.S. military operations. And it's sandwiched between Syria, where a civil war is raging, and Iran, where nuclear negotiations are at a critical juncture.

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Parallels
2:48 pm
Tue May 13, 2014

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

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

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

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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Middle East
7:58 am
Thu May 8, 2014

Assad Troops Retake Homs, Symbol Of Syria's Uprising

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep. Good morning.

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World
4:30 pm
Wed May 7, 2014

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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The Two-Way
1:33 pm
Wed May 7, 2014

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

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

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

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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The Two-Way
5:42 pm
Fri May 2, 2014

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

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

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

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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Middle East
4:21 pm
Fri May 2, 2014

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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Iraq
8:59 am
Wed April 30, 2014

Amid Violence And Without U.S. Troops, Iraq Votes

A Kurdish Iraqi policeman in the northern Kurdish city of Erbil casts his ballot Monday in special voting ahead of Wednesday's election.
Safin Hamed AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 30, 2014 10:59 am

Iraqis are voting for Parliament Wednesday for the first time since American soldiers withdrew more than two years ago. Without their support, and amid intense violence, the poll will test Iraq's fragile democracy to its limits.

The election is for the 328-seat Parliament and offers more than 9,000 candidates on party lists. It will probably end up with no party winning a majority and lead to weeks or months of coalition haggling to form a new government.

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