Zaina Erhaim

Zaina Erhaim is a Syrian journalist,[1][2] and feminist. Working with print, TV and film, she has reported on the Syrian civil war from within Syria. Erhaim is the Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR)'s Communications Manager,[3] she trained hundreds of people whilst in Syria to be citizen reporters, notably a large proportion of them women.[4][5]

Speaking in the ministerial dinner
Erhaim speaks in 2016

Erhaim is the recipient of multiple international awards, named as one of: The world’s most influential young Arabs by Arabian Business[6] and one of the 5 Unsung heroes of 2016 by Reuters Thomson.[7]

Zaina won the Peter Mackler Award for Courageous and Ethical Journalism, Index on Censorship's Freedom of Expression Journalism Award, "Female Rebels Against The War" by WILPF Germany and Press Freedom Prize by Reporters Without Borders. She has contributed to The Economist, The Guardian, Newsweek, Middle East Eye, Orient TV, Al-Hayat and Syria-News.

Zaina also published chapters in three books: Our Women On The Ground[8], Arab Women Voicing New Realities[9], Journalism in Times of War[10].


Erhaim was born in Idlib in north western Syria.[11] She was educated in Damascus.[11] In 2011, Erhaim pursued a masters in International Journalism from City, University of London on a Chevening scholarship; around the same time the Syrian civil war begun.[12][11][13] Erhaim spent a year[11] or two[13] as a broadcast journalist with BBC Arabic Television before returning to Aleppo in 2013[11][13][5][14] in order to report on the situation there.[15] Aleppo is the worst-hit city in the civil war, since the Battle of Aleppo began in 2012 it has been split between the government-held west and the rebel-held east. Reporting from within Syria, Erhaim has contributed to The Economist, The Guardian,[16] Newsweek,[17] Middle East Eye,[18] Orient TV,[11] Al-Hayat[11] and Syria-News.[11] As the Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR)'s Syria project coordinator then, Erhaim also trained hundreds of citizen reporters in print and TV journalism whilst in Syria, notably including many women, to report "independently and accurately" on the civil war.[4] She helped establish many of Syria’s emerging independent newspapers and magazines.[19][20] She fled Syria in 2015[4] and continues working as IWPR's Syria project coordinator, now in Turkey.[17]

In 2015 a series of short documentary films directed by Erhaim, Syria's Rebellious Women, were first screened.[21] The films were made over a period of 18 months in rebel-held parts of Aleppo. They tell the individual stories of a diverse group of women and the challenges facing them from the Assad government’s air force, the conservative traditions of a male-dominated society, and Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.[22][23][24]

In September 2016, upon arrival for a visit to the UK, Erhaim had her passport confiscated by border officials at the request of the Syrian government, who had declared it stolen.[4][25][26][27] She was visiting to give a talk with Kate Adie[4] about "how and why reporters take risks to get close to the action, and the vital role women can play in bringing truth to light" at the Write on Kew literary festival.[28]



  • Syria's Rebellious Women (IWPR, 2015) – directed by Erhaim


  1. ^ a b "Athleisure, Syrian journalist Zaina Erhaim, Women and combat training". BBC Radio 4. Retrieved 26 September 2016.
  2. ^ "Encore: Syrian journalist Zaina Erhaim shares harrowing stories of life between bombings". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. 20 July 2016. Retrieved 26 September 2016.
  3. ^ "Zaina Erhaim | Institute for War & Peace Reporting". Institute for War and Peace Reporting. 13 February 2019. Retrieved 13 February 2019.
  4. ^ a b c d e McKernan, Bethan (25 September 2016). "UK seizes Syrian activist's passport at Heathrow at Assad government's request". The Independent. London. Retrieved 26 September 2016.
  5. ^ a b Fletcher, Martin (15 September 2015). "Why I'm going back to live in Aleppo". The Times. Archived from the original on 21 September 2015. Retrieved 29 September 2016.(Subscription required.)
  6. ^
  7. ^ "The five most important people you probably didn't hear about in 2016". The Independent. December 22, 2016.
  8. ^ "Our Women on the Ground: 9780143133414 | Books".
  9. ^ Arab Women Voice New Realities. Turning Point Books.
  10. ^ institute, Al Jazeera Media. "Journalism in Times of War".
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h "Zaina Erhaim: Articles". London: Middle East Eye. Retrieved 27 September 2016.
  12. ^ a b "City's extraordinary women". City, University of London. Retrieved 2019-02-13.
  13. ^ a b c "Frontline Insight: Syria's citizen journalists". YouTube. Thomson Reuters Foundation. 17 June 2016. Retrieved 28 September 2016.
  14. ^ Fletcher, Martin (21 September 2015). "Syria Feature: Journalist Zaina Erhaim — Why I'm Not Able to Leave Aleppo Despite "Constant Death"". EA WorldView. Retrieved 29 September 2016.
  15. ^ "Living in War-torn Aleppo in Syria". BBC World Service. 25 September 2016. Retrieved 29 September 2016.
  16. ^ a b "Zaina Erhaim". Peter Mackler Award. 22 August 2015. Retrieved 26 September 2016.
  17. ^ a b Erhaim, Zaina (16 December 2015). "War-Torn Syria: Should I Stay or Should I Go?". Newsweek. Retrieved 26 September 2016.
  18. ^ "UK confiscates passport of Syrian journalist after Assad government request". London: Middle East Eye. 25 September 2016. Retrieved 27 September 2016.
  19. ^ Ramadan, Ahmad (18 September 2015). "Zaina Erhaim works to ensure solid reporting on Syrian war". The Arab Weekly. London. Retrieved 26 September 2016.
  20. ^ a b "Zaina Erhaim of Syria named 2015 Winner of Peter Mackler Award for Courageous and Ethical Journalism". Reporters Without Borders. 22 August 2015. Retrieved 26 September 2016.
  21. ^ "Syria's Rebellious Women". Institute for War and Peace Reporting. 15 November 2015. Retrieved 26 September 2016.
  22. ^ "Insight with Zaina Erhaim: Syria's Rebellious Women". Frontline Club. Retrieved 26 September 2016.
  23. ^ McVeigh, Tracy (25 September 2016). "The Syrian women fighting to save their city". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 26 September 2016.
  24. ^ Shabi, Rachel (18 November 2015). "Syria's rebellious women". London: Al Jazeera Media Network. Retrieved 26 September 2016.
  25. ^ a b c Graham-Harrison, Emma (25 September 2016). "Syrian activist barred from travel after UK seizes passport at Assad's request". The Observer. London. Retrieved 26 September 2016.
  26. ^ "Une journaliste syrienne dénonce la confiscation de son passeport au Royaume-Uni". L'Express. Retrieved 26 September 2016.
  27. ^ WITW staff (25 September 2016). "U.K. confiscates passport of Syrian activist and war reporter Zaina Erhaim". Women in the World / The New York Times. Retrieved 29 September 2016.
  28. ^ "Kate Adie and Zaina Erhaim: Women on the Frontline, presented by Index on Censorship: Hear how and why reporters take risks to get close to the action, and the vital role women can play in bringing truth to light". Write on Kew. Retrieved 28 September 2016.
  29. ^ "City alumna wins award for courageous and ethical journalism". City, University of London. 28 August 2015. Retrieved 26 September 2016.
  30. ^
  31. ^ "Index announces winners of 2016 Freedom of Expression Awards". Index on Censorship. 13 April 2016. Retrieved 26 September 2016.
  32. ^

External linksEdit

  Media related to Zaina Erhaim at Wikimedia Commons