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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11:27am

Thu February 26, 2015
The Two-Way

ISIS Video Shows Extremists Smashing Priceless Artifacts

Originally published on Mon March 2, 2015 1:41 pm

The self-styled Islamic State has released a video showing an orgy of destruction of ancient statues in the Iraqi city of Mosul, with footage at a museum and at least one archaeological site nearby.

The video begins with an image of the police known as the Hisba, tasked with enforcing their strict interpretation of Islamic law, patrolling the streets. Then, the scene cuts to bearded men ripping protective coverings from statues in the museum.

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4:06pm

Tue February 3, 2015
Middle East

ISIS Video Purports To Show Killing Of Jordanian Pilot

Originally published on Wed February 4, 2015 11:02 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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5:11pm

Wed January 28, 2015
Middle East

Jordan Considers Handing Over Prisoner For Hostage Pilot

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 8:39 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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4:41pm

Mon January 26, 2015
Parallels

Syrian Rebels Want To Fight Assad, But Now They'll Face ISIS

Originally published on Tue February 3, 2015 4:00 pm

Free Syrian Army fighters run behind sandbags in Daraa Al-Mahata, in southern Syria, on Jan. 21. Many moderate rebels joined the uprising to fight against President Bashar Assad, but the U.S. plans to train them to fight the self-proclaimed Islamic State.
Wsam Almokdad Reuters/Landov

In the U.S. view, the most serious threat coming from Syria is the self-styled Islamic State, or ISIS. That's why the Pentagon is sending forces to train what it terms moderate Syrian rebel fighters.

But here's the catch. Moderate rebel commanders say it will be hard to explain this mission to their troops, who took up arms with the aim of toppling Syrian President Bashar Assad, not ISIS.

The U.S. plan calls for the Americans and their allies to train and equip about 5,000 Syrian moderates. U.S. troops are heading to Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia for the training.

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8:00am

Sun January 25, 2015
Parallels

Piece By Piece, Monks Scramble To Preserve Iraq's Christian History

Originally published on Sun January 25, 2015 2:40 pm

Father Najeeb Michaeel shows off one of the many Christian manuscripts he saved from Iraq's Christian libraries.
Alice Fordham NPR

In an unfinished building in the northern Iraqi city of Erbil, displaced Christian children sing a little song about returning to their village. "We're going back," they sing, "to our houses, our land, our church."

Right now, they're living in an open concrete structure. The self-styled Islamic State, or ISIS, took over their home village of Qaraqosh, and the Christians fled in fear, on foot.

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4:56pm

Mon January 19, 2015
The Two-Way

Suspected Israeli Strike Kills Iranian General Advising Syrian Troops

Originally published on Mon January 19, 2015 7:32 pm

Lebanese Hezbollah supporters carry the coffin of Jihad Mughniyeh during his funeral in Beirut on Monday. Mughniyeh was one of six ranking members of Hezbollah killed in a suspected Israeli strike Sunday. Iran says a general of its elite Revolutionary Guards was also killed.
Joseph Eid AFP/Getty Images

Iran says a general in the country's elite Revolutionary Guard was killed by an Israeli airstrike in Syria on Sunday that also killed several ranking members of Hezbollah.

Though these aren't the first Iranians or Hezbollah fighters to be killed in Syria, this incident stands out because these men were on the Syrian Golan Heights, within 10 miles of Israel's northeastern border.

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5:12am

Thu January 15, 2015
Middle East

In Jordan, The Comic Book Superheroes Fight Extremism

Originally published on Tue January 20, 2015 3:34 pm

Comic book creator Suleiman Bakhit says he found that many kids did not have heroes to look up to and sometimes gravitated to religious extremists. This frame is from his story about a Jordanian special forces hero.
Courtesy of Suleiman Bakhit

We've been hearing a lot about cartoons for all the wrong reasons recently: the horrifying attack on Charlie Hebdo in Paris, the divisive images, the threat of extremism. But one man in Jordan has been using comic book superheroes to try to bridge the divide and curb extremism.

His name is Suleiman Bakhit, and at a bar in Jordan's capital, Amman, he cracks open his laptop to show off some heroes. The artwork is sophisticated, vivid and influenced by Japanese comics.

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5:40pm

Thu January 8, 2015
Parallels

With A Son Missing, Family Questions Jordan's Mission Against ISIS

Originally published on Fri January 9, 2015 7:13 am

Safi al-Kasasbeh and his wife Saafia are the parents of Moath al-Kasasbeh, the Jordanian air force pilot captured by the self-proclaimed Islamic State in Syria. The worried parents are proud of their son, but say Jordan should not be involved in the coalition against ISIS.
Alice Fordham NPR

In Jordan, the talk these days centers on the fate of the Jordanian pilot who was captured by the self-styled Islamic State after his plane crashed in Syria on Christmas Eve.

Little is known about the condition of Moath al-Kasasbeh since the extremists tweeted pictures of him, bloody and bewildered, after the crash.

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5:19pm

Sat January 3, 2015
Parallels

After Making Waves In 2014, ISIS' Power Appears To Ebb

Originally published on Sun January 4, 2015 10:54 am

Iraqi crowds cheer as the countdown and fireworks begin during a New Year's Day celebration at Firdos Square in Baghdad on Wednesday.
Hadi Mizban AP

In the heat of summer in 2014, Baghdad was spooked. A third of Iraq was under the control of the self-proclaimed Islamic State, or ISIS. The extremist group thrived in the chaos of the Syrian civil war, then surged over the border into Iraq and took over the cities of Mosul and Tikrit. People worried the capital might be next.

Six months on, that's changed. On New Year's Eve, for instance, the usual midnight curfew was lifted and people partied in the streets and uploaded videos of themselves letting off fireworks.

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3:25am

Wed December 31, 2014
Parallels

There And Back Again For U.S. Military In Iraq

Originally published on Wed December 31, 2014 12:43 pm

U.S. soldiers patrol the Taji base complex, which hosts Iraqi and U.S. troops north of the capital Baghdad. Taji is one of an eventual five sites where the U.S. and allied countries aim to train 5,000 Iraqi military personnel every six to eight weeks for combat against the so-called Islamic State.
Ali al-Saadi AFP/Getty Images

Three years after the U.S. military officially withdrew from Iraq, 2,000 U.S. troops are back. They're restoring the old buildings they'd left behind and renewing contacts with Iraqi officers they knew before.

They're also taking incoming rocket fire at their bases.

This week began an ambitious training program to put 5,000 Iraqi soldiers through boot camp every six weeks.

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3:22am

Wed December 24, 2014
Parallels

For Syria's President, The Year Ends Better Than It Began

Originally published on Wed December 24, 2014 9:12 am

Syrian President Bashar Assad, shown here in July, appeared to be in a tough position at the beginning of the year. But many analysts say his hold on power grew stronger over the course of 2014, due in part to the U.S. bombing campaign against the Islamic State.
SANA AP

At the beginning of 2014, Syrian President Bashar Assad had agreed to send his ministers to take part in negotiations in Switzerland, and his future as Syria's ruler was not looking very bright.

He was accused of killing tens of thousands of his own people in a civil war that was nearly three years old. The opposition was demanding Assad's ouster. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was in Switzerland and called loudly for a political transition in Syria. He was clear about who would not be involved.

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1:47pm

Tue December 16, 2014
Parallels

Amid Strains, Syrian Refugees Are Facing Curfews In Lebanon

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 2:46 pm

A Syrian refugee child carries water in the Fayda Camp, some 25 miles east of Beirut, Lebanon, on March 10.
Jerome Delay AP

In Lebanon — a fragile little country of just 4 million people — there are about 1 million refugees from Syria. Many have been here three years, and their welcome is starting to wear thin.

Some towns and villages have imposed a curfew on refugees – enforced by local groups of volunteers. But in a country that experienced a brutal civil war, some are concerned about the return of armed civilian groups.

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5:26am

Tue December 16, 2014
Middle East

Contestant From War-Torn Syria Wins 'Arab Idol'

Originally published on Tue December 16, 2014 6:09 pm

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

5:39am

Sat December 13, 2014
Parallels

Syrian Women Displaced By War Make Tragedy Of 'Antigone' Their Own

Originally published on Sat December 13, 2014 2:21 pm

Mona, 28, narrates during a rehearsal of Antigone. "I feel that Antigone resembles me a lot," says the former resident of Damascus and mother of two.
Dalia Khamissy for NPR

Barefoot in a yoga studio in Lebanon's capital Beirut, a couple dozen actresses raise voices and stretch bodies that had grown used to being quiet and still.

"Go on," they cry as a clapping exercise speeds up, and they fill the room with whoops and uninhibited yells.

But these women aren't professional actresses. In fact, they're refugees from Syria, and this production of the Greek tragedy Antigone is a project designed to help them deal with their trauma.

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5:40am

Sun November 30, 2014
Parallels

With Shopping, Holy Sites, Najaf Offers Respite From Iraq's Violence

Originally published on Sun November 30, 2014 12:44 pm

An Iranian national shops at a popular market in the holy Iraqi Shiite city of Najaf. Recently, the city — where millions of international pilgrims visit every year — has been spared the worst of Iraq's violence.
Haidar Hamdani AFP/Getty Images

The holy Iraqi city of Najaf has a brand-new and appropriately holy shopping center: the Najaf City Mall.

Under banners with Muslim prayers, children rampage through an adventure playground, while conservative women in long black robes browse for cute outfits to wear when they're home with family.

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