French-Syrian opposition figure Bassma Kodmani dies at 64: family
Leading Syrian academic and opposition figure Bassma Kodmani died in Paris on Thursday aged 64 after a long battle with cancer, her family told AFP.
Born in Damascus in 1958, she spent a large part of her life in exile and was also a French citizen.
Her sister, journalist Hala Kodmani, said she died of cancer in hospital in the French capital, where she lived.
Kodmani was a leading member of the Syrian opposition after peaceful protests broke out in the country in 2011.
She co-founded the Syrian National Council, a coalition of opponents to President Bashar al-Assad's regime, and served as head of foreign relations and spokesperson for the body before resigning in 2012.
Kodmani was also a leading member of the opposition High Negotiations Committee, participating in United Nations-hosted meetings in Geneva from 2016.
Known for her calm demeanour and sense of diplomacy, she was often cited by Western media outlets.
An author and academic with a doctorate in political science from the Sciences Po university in the French capital, Kodmani co-founded the Paris-based Arab Reform Initiative think tank and was its executive director from 2005 to 2019.
She was also a senior fellow at France's prestigious Institut Montaigne think tank.
"Bassma was a passionate intellectual and a committed activist for her beloved Syria and the broader Arab region which she aspired to see as free and prosperous," Nadim Houry, current executive director of the Arab Reform Initiative, said in a statement on Facebook.
The European Council on Foreign Relations said on Twitter that it was "deeply saddened by the passing of our longstanding friend and council member Bassma Kodmani".
Kodmani was the daughter of a seasoned diplomat who later passed to the opposition. She had three sons.
"The Syrian revolution has lost a sharp voice and a superior mind," George Sabra, another key figure in the Syrian opposition, said on Facebook.