Graduated Doctor in Tours University (2000), I am an assistant professor of geography (since 2007) in Lyon University and Adjunct Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy since 2018. I have been a fellow of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University (2017-2018), after having been a researcher at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (2015-2017).

My first stay in the Middle East began in 1990. Since then, I have lived for ten years between Syria and Lebanon, privileged areas of my research. Fellow (1990-1991), research grantee (1996-1998) at the French Institute of the Near East (IFPO), then director of the Urban Observatory of the Near East at the IFPO (2003 – 2007). Director of the Research and Studies Group on the Mediterranean and the Middle East (GREMMO, UMR 5291) at the Maison de l’Orient (2010 and 2015). Since 2017, I belong to the Environment, City and Society laboratory (EVS, UMR 5600) of the University of Lyon.

My research is part of a global geography with the Middle East as a framework. My goal is to understand the relationships between the construction of territories and the power of the local scale at the scale of this region. In this context, I participated in various scientific research programs, such as the urban ANR on urban development in the Middle East (2007-2011) and the World Bank program “Building for Peace in the Middle East and North Africa”. In 2021, I launched a research program on “The Reconstruction of the Levant (Lebanon, Syria, Iraq)” supported by the research centre “Urban World Intelligence” (Intelligence des Mondes Urbains).

In addition to my academic work, I carry out expertise in economics, geopolitics and development in the region for public institutions, development agencies and economic intelligence companies. From 2005 to 2011, I notably worked as a consultant for the German Cooperation (GIZ) and the French Agency for Development (AFD) in Syria on a program to preserve water resources. The war put an end to development programs in the Middle East, but it opened up humanitarian and security programs. Since my return from the United States in 2018, I directed a Syrian observatory (2018-2021) then a Levant observatory (2023-2025) within AESMA on behalf of the General Directorate of International Relations and Strategy (DGRIS).

Finally, I must highlight my work in various NGOs since the start of the Syrian crisis. My humanitarian commitment led me to “Médecins Sans Frontière” (2018), “Solidarités” (2019-2020) and more recently Mines Advisory Group (MAG) for which I carried out a study on security in North-East Syria (2022 ).

Lessons from the Syrian crisis Fabrice Balanche

Les leçons de la crise syrienne, Odile Jacob, Paris, 2024

Syrie Liban - Communautarisme et pouvoir

Syrie Liban : communautarisme et pouvoir, Presses Universitaires de Rhin et Danube, Huningue, 2022

The sectarianism and the Syrian civil war, Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Washington, 2018

Géopolitique du Moyen-Orient, La Documentation Française, Paris 2014


Atlas du Proche-Orient arabe, Paris, Presses Universitaires de Paris Sorbonne, 2011


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Principaux articles scientifiques