Conflict in Syria: Finding hope among the ruins

Presented by ANU College of Law

Launching the latest International Review of the Red Cross

The conflict in Syria has exhibited some of the worst trends in modern warfare. It has seen siege tactics and indiscriminate attacks against civilians, hospitals, health and aid workers. It has seen the fragmentation of armed groups and the intervention of numerous external actors. An estimated 470,000 people have lost their lives. A further 13.5 million rely on humanitarian assistance to survive.

Acknowledging this humanitarian cost, the International Committee of the Red Cross is launching the latest edition of its quarterly academic review, focused on the conflict. Join the ICRC Australia Mission and a panel of experts on Monday, August 19, for a discussion of Syria's changing conflict and what this means for communities caught in the crossfire.

Co-hosted by the ICRC and the Centre for Military and Security Law, drinks and refreshments will be served from 5.30pm ahead of a 6pm panel start at Finkel Lecture Theatre. An audience Q&A will follow the discussion, with complimentary copies of the 'Conflict in Syria' edition also available at the event.


Dr Yasmin Naqvi is an international lawyer from Australia working with an international criminal justice mechanism at The Hague. She has worked with the UN and ICRC as well as numerous other international bodies including the International Criminal Court and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. Her article in the 'Conflict in Syria' edition of the Review makes the case for how the international community could hold those responsible for using chemical weapons in Syria to account.

Dr Ross Burns is a former Australian ambassador to Syria and the author of numerous books on the region. With 37 years at DFAT, including periods as Head of Mission in a number of Middle Eastern countries, Greece and South Africa, he is currently an Adjunct Fellow at Macquarie University and his website tracks the level of damage to Syria's monuments. His article in this edition of the Review highlights how Syria's ancient monuments have also been targets in the conflict - and why Syrians need to be central in efforts to restore the past.

Pawel Krzysiek is an ICRC communications strategist. An Arabic-speaker, he managed communications in Syria for the ICRC from 2015 to 2018. Much of this work has involved crossing the frontlines of war zones into besieged towns. Pawel has also undertaken missions for the ICRC in South Sudan and Iraq as well as for the UN in Syria and Burundi.


Dr Bob Bowker is a veteran Australian diplomat who has served as ambassador to Jordan, Egypt, Syria, Libya, Tunisia and Sudan. Working for the UN Relief and Works Program for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, he was based in Gaza and Jerusalem. An Honourary Visiting Fellow at the ANU Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies, he is the author of several books and publications on the Middle East.