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How Should the World Protect Syria’s Children?

Intelligence Squared and Save the Children brought together a panel of experts on the conflict, voices from the region, the former Russian Prime Minister and more world renowned speakers, for a special debate on how best to protect Syria's children.

Syria’s brutal civil war has created one of the worst humanitarian disasters ever. Syria’s children have been paying the ultimate price. Thousands have lost their lives already, and millions more have been forced to leave their homes.

Diplomatic efforts have yielded some results. After the images of suffering caused by the chemical weapons attack made headlines and caused moral outrage around the world, Syria leapt to the top of domestic political agendas. As a result of international pressure, Assad handed over his chemical weapons.

But Syria’s children continue to lose their lives on a massive scale. Overwhelmingly it is conventional arms that are causing these deaths. And we are back to the situation that prevailed before the chemical attack: world leaders are unable to unite to decide what to do next. Why does the continued loss of young life on such a scale not trigger the same level of moral repugnance as did the chemical weapons attack?

Where does the world go from here? The horror will not stop unless concerted action is taken, but what options, if any, are left? How can we prevent an entire generation from being lost to the violence?



Jon Sopel

Award-winning journalist and television presenter

Award-winning journalist and television presenter. Co-host, alongside Emily Maitlis, of up and coming podcast in partnership with Global as well as a radio show for LBC. Prior to this, he was North America Editor, the most senior foreign posting in the BBC. He has worked variously as the corporation’s Paris Correspondent, Chief Political Correspondent, hosted both The Politics Show and Newsnight and is a regular on HARDtalk, as well as a number of Radio 4 programmes. He has played a key role in major political and international stories, anchoring coverage on location from around the world, including the funeral of Nelson Mandela, the inauguration of the new Pope, countless presidential elections, wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Middle East, and a number of natural disasters. He is the author of three books, including UnPresidented, a diary of the 2020 US elections.

Dr. Rola Hallam

Doctor and war-zone medic

British-Syrian doctor and war-zone medic. She was recently involved in the BBC’s Panorama documentary, ‘Saving Syria’s Children’ where she was an eyewitness to the aftermath of a fatal bomb attack on a school in Aleppo

Justin Forsyth

Chief Executive of Save the Children

Chief Executive of Save the Children

Mikhail Kasyanov

Activist and politician

Former Russian Prime Minister (2000-2004). He is a vocal critic of President Vladimir Putin and co-leader of the Republican Party of Russia – People’s Freedom Party

Lord Mark Malloch-Brown


Former UK government minister (2007 – 2009) and United Nations Deputy Secretary-General (2006)

Paul Conroy

Photojournalist and war-photographer

World-renowned photojournalist and war-photographer. In 2012 Conroy suffered severe injuries in the Syrian city of Homs during an attack that killed two other reporters including celebrated Sunday Times journalist Marie Colvin