American University of Beirut

Work in focus

The following parameters define the work of the Lancet-AUB Commission on Syria: Health in Conflict.


Many of the health issues of the Syria conflict have local, regional, transcontinental and global dimensions. Such dimensions are intricately linked. 
  • One example is attacks on health facilities, which have been a defining feature of the conflict. These attacks occur, and are experienced locally. while representing, globally, failure of the UN Security Council and with international actors, including members of the UN Security Council accused of perpetrating such attacks. 
  • Another example, i.e. management of trans-border refugee flow between Turkey and Europe, show how regional and transcontinental dimensions are intricately linked.  
The Commission will therefore examine health issues at various levels: local (e.g. health services delivery), country (e.g. using the whole-of-Syria approach), regional (e.g. cross-country analysis of health system response to refugees and host communities), transcontinental (e.g. refugee movement) and global (e.g. humanitarian aid regime and response to international law violations).  


Through a scoping literature review, discussions and stakeholder consultations in preparation for launching the Commission, and during the first (inaugural) meeting of the Commission, a large number of issues were identified as of interest to the work of the Lancet-AUB Commission on Syria: Health in Conflict. The research work of the Commission has been divided under six thematic areas (see Thematic ​Groups).

  • Thematic area A: ​Health and the Syrian conflict in regional and global context (framing)
  • Thematic area B: Health inside Syria
  • Thematic area C: Refugees and host communities
  • Thematic area D: Health systems and transition to "rebuilding"
  • Thematic area E: International response to the crisis
  • Thematic area F: The future, policy and practice implications

The themes are understand​​ably overlapping and lend themselves to reformulation too. The Commission recognizes such possibilities but ultimately sees that fresh thinking and novel research will prove more important than categories.



The following principles guide the work of the Commission: (1) Evidence-based; (2) consensus building; (3) public engagement; (4) working in partnership; (5) multi​-d​isciplinarity, and (6) emphasis on policy and practice.  

The approach relies on the following: (1)  mapping issues and selecting priorities; (2) evidence gathering, including primary research as needed, and analysis; (3) synthesis of findings; (4) peer review and public consultation; and (5) knowledge translation and dissemination.  


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