The focus of this year’s Humanities Cross-disciplinary Workshop was the Kurdish-Syrian conflict

22/01/20
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Journalists and academic experts addressed the key issues of a conflict that has produced thousands of internally displaced people over the last few years

 The focus of this year’s Humanities Cross-disciplinary Workshop was the Kurdish-Syrian conflict
Women of Jinwar (Rojava, Kurdistan of Syria) © Kurdiscat

On Monday, 20 January 2020, the Faculty of Humanities held its annual Cross-Disciplinary Workshop in the Saló de Graus, which discussed, from a multidisciplinary perspective, the reality of the Kurdish-Syrian conflict. 

Dr David Meseguer, a reporter specialised in the Middle East, lecturer of Journalism at the UIC Barcelona Faculty of Communication, gave the first lecture. The lecture was entitled “Kurds de Síria: l'autogovern sota amenaça.” (“Kurds in Syria: self-government under threat”). In it, he described the Turkish incursion into the Kurdish areas in the north of Syria as "ethnic cleansing" and highlighted the complexity and harshness of the conflict affecting the country. "Ten years on, the war in Syria is a small third-world war involving a multitude of international actors with diverse interests in the area. There have already been around half a million casualties, which means we are talking about one of the bloodiest conflicts of the 21st Century," he stated. 

Jordi Llaonart was next to take the stage, a graduate in Arabic Philology from the University of Barcelona (UB), and a correspondent in the Middle East. Llaonart gave a lecture entitled Confederalisme democràtic i l'aliança amb els Estats Units (“Democratic confederalism and the alliance with the United States.”), in which he outlined the differences between the Kurdish population in Syria and in Iraq. Llaonart qualified the international alliance between the Kurdish people and the US to expel the Islamic State from Syrian territory as an "error" and predicted the Kurds would be defeated by Turkey due the lack of international support. "I have a feeling that the Kurds will eventually be defeated because they are absolutely alone. There is no world power that supports their autonomy and, even less so, the formation of an independent Kurdish state," he said. 

Dr Adrià Breu gave the final lecture. Dr Breu is an archaeologist and a member of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona Research Group in Archaeology of the Mediterranean and the Near and Middle East. Breu gave a lecture on "Patrimoni en perill: l’arqueologia en temps de guerra al Proper Orient. (“World Heritage in Danger: Archaeology in times of war in the Middle East”)." in which he discussed the effects of the war on historical heritage in cities like Dura-Europos, Apamea, Mossul or Palmyra. "Radical Islamism has a policy of destruction, but also of looting. Looting of artefacts has been the second biggest source of funding for the Islamic State after oil," he warned.