This seminar series is dedicated to the unfolding conflict and human catastrophe in Syria. The Syrian conflict started in 2011 as a popular and pacific uprising against the regime of Bashar al-Asad. It mutated into an armed conflict between numerous opposition armed groups and the Asad regime. External actors have since started to intervene, either directly in support of the Damascus regime, or indirectly in support of some of the very diverse armed groups of the opposition. Since Russia stepped directly onto the military scene in 2015, the conflict has entered a new phase, characterised by the central role played by external powers in propping up the Asad regime, and the sidelining of all peace talks and other political processes. The Syrian population is bearing the brunt of this conflict. Estimates vary as to the number of civilian deaths directly linked to the conflict, but they could reach more than 300,000. Poverty affects four in five Syrians. This seminar series aims to shed light on different aspects of the Syrian conflict in order to provide a better understanding of it. It also discusses the consequences of the situation in Syria for the international community, for humanitarian organisations, but also for the legal infrastructures put in place since the Second World War with regard to international humanitarian laws, human rights, and refugee protection.
The seminar series is supported by the Maison Française d’Oxford.
Professor Ziad Majed is Associate Professor of Middle East Studies and International Affairs at the American University of Paris, France. He teaches Middle East studies and writes on Lebanese, Syrian and Arab affairs as well as on regional political transitions and crises. Since 1994, he has been involved in research work and reform campaigns related to political processes and civil society causes in Lebanon and other Arab countries. For the last five years, Professor Majed has been publishing a weekly editorial in Arabic (in Now Lebanon) and a monthly paper in French (in different Lebanese and French outlets). He is currently preparing a publication on Consociational democracy to appear soon.