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Lyse Doucet

Lyse Doucet Chief international correspondent

Come here for my thoughts on places in the headlines, people who live behind or beyond front lines and who live ordinary lives in extraordinary ways

Lyse added analysis to:

Syria conflict: West criticises Assad election plan

21 April 2014

Such is Syria's deep, dangerous divide that an election makes absolute sense for some, and is profoundly absurd for others.

President Assad has hinted for more than a year that it was his right to run again.

As preparations gathered pace, the opposition slammed this poll as a "parody of democracy". Even the UN envoy for Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, diplomatically said that, if it went ahead, the opposition "will probably not be interested in talking to the government".

But the Geneva talks went nowhere. And President Assad's forces, backed by Hezbollah fighters, have recaptured territory in some strategic areas, including around Damascus.

Fighting is nevertheless intensifying in other areas, like Aleppo, as opposition groups get more and better arms from their backers. It is expected that more mortars will fall on Damascus, and other cities, as rebel fighters show their opposition to a poll they have been unable to stop.

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Syria crisis: Russian roulette of random attacks

17 April 2014
Family in Old Aleppo

Minutes later… or before. Metres on one side… or the other. That can be the measure between life or death in Syria. That's the cruel consequence of random attacks in a ravaging war.

"If the mortar had landed 15 minutes later, the children would have been in their classrooms," lamented a school official in the Bab Touma area of the Old City of Damascus not long after a mortar slammed into a schoolyard full of children this week.

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Afghans set to defy the Taliban in presidential vote

3 April 2014
An Afghan National Police (ANP) officer loads concertina wire, which will be used to secure polling places ahead of presidential elections
A huge security operation is being launched in advance of Saturday's presidential vote

There's nothing like an election when it's not certain who will win, when candidates campaign like every vote counts, and voters are engaged.

That's Afghanistan in 2014.

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Kabul guest house attack: Stories of survival

28 March 2014
Foreigners take refuge behind a generator after they were evacuated from a guesthouses during an attack by Taliban gunmen (28 March 2014)
Evacuated foreigners take refuge behind a generator

All five men were visibly shaken. Some were bloodied from scratches. But theirs is an extraordinary story of survival after a four-hour long attack on their Kabul guest house.

"I'm amazed to be alive," one survivor kept repeating as he recounted how he hid under his bed on the third floor of the guest house for more than two hours.

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Kabul ushers in uncertain New Year

28 March 2014
Turkmen musicians in large furry hats
Performers from across the region congregated in Kabul for this year's International Nawroz Festival

Kabul's Salaam Khana was once a stately palace where kings were crowned and Afghans gathered to salute their royal ruler.

This week it set the stage for a new chapter in Afghanistan's chequered history.

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Lyse answers your questions on Iran

18 March 2014
Screen grab from Reddit

Yesterday I took part in a special "Ask Me Anything" session on social news site reddit, taking questions about my recent trip to Tehran.

You can read a selection of comments from the session here.

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Four days in Tehran

17 March 2014
Nowruz shoppers in Tehran ( picture by Natalie Morton)

Four days in the teeming mega-metropolis of Tehran is not enough. But it was just enough to savour what's long been special about this city.

There were also moments of surprise. And even a short stay was enough to appreciate the enduring centrality and sensitivity of Iran's engagement with the wider world.

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Iranians hope for better fortunes in Persian New Year

14 March 2014

Iranians are preparing for the Persian New Year - the Nawroz festival that symbolises happiness, health and new hope.

The country's shops and bazaars are packed with shoppers but many Iranians are experiencing the hardships caused by crippling economic sanctions.

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Ashton visit to Iran sparks co-operation and controversy

12 March 2014
Catherine Ashton talks to Iranian officials, including Mohammad Javad Zarif, in Tehran
Catherine Ashton attended a meeting with Mohammad Javad Zarif in Tehran on Sunday

A visit to explore the potential for a new relationship between Iran and Europe has also ended up highlighting the enduring sensitivity of the old.

Hardliners have been on a political warpath this week after the first visit to Tehran by the European Union's foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton.

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About Lyse

Lyse has been reporting for the BBC for nearly 30 years, with posts in Abidjan, Kabul, Islamabad, Tehran, Amman and Jerusalem. In 1999 she joined the BBC's team of presenters but most of her time is spent going back to regions where she lived, and also discovering new ones too.

Lyse often presents from the field for BBC World News, and the BBC World Service's flagship Newshour programme, as well as the News Channel. She works as a correspondent too, reporting across the BBC's global and domestic TV and radio outlets. She also writes for BBC online and posts - judiciously! - on Twitter and Facebook.

Lyse feels at home in many places but is still Canadian. She was educated in Canada, at Queen's University, and the University of Toronto, and has been awarded several honorary doctorates as well as major journalism awards.

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