Patrick Cockburn

Patrick Cockburn is an award-winning writer on The Independent who specialises in analysis of Iraq, Syria and wars in the Middle East. In 2014 he forecasted the rise of Isis before it was well known, and has written extensively about it and other players in the region. He joined the Financial Times, covering the Middle East, and was later Moscow correspondent. In 1990, he joined The Independent, reporting on the First Gulf War from Baghdad, and has written largely on the Middle East ever since.

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With the Syrian conflict in its 8th year, the propaganda on all sides grows ever more intense, never more so than in the barrage of conflicting narratives about the role of The White Helmets. Are they a volunteer organisation working to rescue Syrians on all sides, a propaganda front for Western governments or allies of Al-Qaeda? More generally, can we believe all we read on the mainstream media on Syria – and how do we get to the truth about Syria?

Patrick Cockburn, Anand Gopal, Nour Samaha, and Mowaffaq Safadi. Chair: James Harkin