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.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

DOHUK, Iraq — With rows of white tents filling a windswept hillside, the Khanke camp in northern Iraq shelters about 14,000 men, women and children from the Yazidi religious minority. They have been stuck here since ISIS invaded their home villages in 2014.

With its dirt roads and drab dwellings, the camp can be a bleak place. But the beat of a daf, a drum sacred to Yazidis, throbs underneath loud, energetic singing, rising over shouts of children in a trash-strewn playground.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

SCOTT DETROW, HOST:

IRBIL, Iraq — Pope Francis has touched down in Iraq for the first-ever papal visit to the predominantly Muslim country, beginning a four-day visit in Baghdad, where yellow and white Vatican flags and likenesses of the pontiff flutter above hastily weeded traffic circles.

Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi welcomed Francis at Baghdad International Airport. He was greeted with fanfare as he stepped onto the red carpet, and then by a choir as he entered the airport.

IRBIL, Iraq - The White House says officials are assessing whether further response is warranted after a U.S. civilian contractor died after suffering a "cardiac episode" during a rocket attack on an airbase in Iraq early Wednesday local time, the latest such attack since U.S. airstrikes hit Iran-backed militants last week.

BABYLON, Iraq — On a mild winter weekend, the sun pours down on the yellow archways of the reconstructed palace of King Nebuchadnezzar II at the site of the ancient city of Babylon. Nearly three millennia after Nebuchadnezzar's reign, visitors from a tour group cluster to admire a brick frieze depicting strange creatures that look like lions with eagle claws.

Snapping photographs, they pass under arches, through hallways and across vast courtyards, imagining the regal ceremonies, worship and gossip of the past.

BAGHDAD — On a recent Sunday in Baghdad, a congregation of Chaldean Catholics gather — masked and distanced — to attend Mass at the Church of the Holy Family. Some are from the capital, others fled the north of the country when ISIS seized swaths of territory nearly seven years ago.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Pandemic permitting, Pope Francis hopes to visit Iraq next month. Many of Iraq's Christians have fled the country after ISIS targeted them in recent years. So what would a papal visit mean to them? NPR's Alice Fordham has been asking.

With the gold domes of the famed Kadhimiya shrine as a backdrop, nearby streets full of shops, markets and tea-sellers in Baghdad look bustling and vibrant, even at night. Tempting windows display sparkly clothes and cascades of candy in rainbow colors.

But shopkeepers say no one has been buying much since Iraq devalued its dinar against the dollar last year.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Looking now to another part of the world to Iraq. The economy there relies on government salaries, but its government relies on oil revenues, which have been falling. NPR's Alice Fordham reports.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

When doctors in Lebanon diagnosed a coronavirus case this week, it wasn't the country's first. There are several hundred cases, but this one was in a Palestinian refugee camp. NPR's Alice Fordham explains why that's particularly worrying.

April 2020 was a month Mohammad had yearned for. It was when he was set to fly to the U.S. with his wife and son to start a new life.

The Afghan had spent years painstakingly proving he was eligible for a special visa through his work as an interpreter with the U.S. Marine Corps in Afghanistan, and that he posed no danger to the American homeland.

"It took almost five years," he says with a sigh, speaking by phone from Afghanistan. He asks that NPR not use his full name because of threats from the Taliban against him.

Lebanon is a small, cash-strapped country in the Middle East, but its government estimates it hosts 1.5 million Syrian refugees — the highest per-capita ratio in the world. About a third of them live in tents or in places like farm buildings or garages, in conditions that make regular hand-washing and physical distancing all but impossible.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

High above the Mediterranean Sea, up a mountain wreathed in springtime mist and drizzle, is the monastery where the beloved Lebanese St. Charbel is buried.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Syria, having faced a war for years that has killed or displaced millions, now has announced its first case of coronavirus. Health care workers are preparing to fight a pandemic in one of the most challenging parts of the world. NPR's Alice Fordham reports.

The World Health Organization has begun working with doctors to test for coronavirus in opposition-held areas of Syria. So far, three tests have been conducted.

The samples — delivered across the Syrian border be tested in a lab in Turkey — all were negative. The WHO says that next week, 300 testing kits are expected to be delivered to a laboratory in Idlib province, so health workers in the rebel-held area can conduct tests themselves.

Turkey and Russia agreed to a cease-fire Thursday, to begin at midnight in northwestern Syria's Idlib region. Five Turkish soldiers were killed in Idlib earlier this week and nearly a million people have been displaced in fierce fighting since December, as forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad have made gains in the opposition's last redoubt.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

The bond between the United States and the United Kingdom runs deep. The phrase "special relationship" was made famous by Prime Minister Winston Churchill in a speech in Missouri in 1946, after the two countries fought shoulder to shoulder in World War II.

Security is still a cornerstone of the relationship, as are trade and less tangible things like shared language and the fact that many Americans are proud of their British roots.

President Trump arrives in Brussels Tuesday for a summit at NATO, the latest pillar of the international order left wobbling by his adversarial approach to allies.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

NOEL KING, HOST:

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

On a bright afternoon outside the elegant facade of Trinity College Dublin, students hand out flyers to passers-by urging them to vote in Friday's referendum to lift Ireland's constitutional ban on abortion in most circumstances.

"Please vote yes on Friday! Thank you! Please vote yes," chirp the students, who have big smiles and colored sweaters with "REPEAL" emblazoned across the front.

Pages