Ziadeh emerged as a public figure during the 2000 Damascus Spring, a period of intense debate about politics and social issues as well as calls for reform in Syria following the death of President Hafez al-Assad. In 2005 he was a signatory of the Damascus Declaration, which led the Syrian government to impose a travel ban on him. He went into exile in 2007 and has lived in the United States since.
Ziadeh has documented human rights violations in Syria and testified before the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva. He joined the Syrian National Council as a member of the National Bloc in October 2011 and was elected director of its foreign affairs bureau, a position he held until April 2012. Following a formal split of the National Bloc in June, Ziadeh became the head of the bloc, replacing Ahmad Ramadan, who formed his own faction.
On October 29-31, 2012, Ziadeh gathered over 150 opposition members in Istanbul under the aegis of the Syrian Center for Political and Strategic Studies, which he directs, to discuss establishing a government in exile. But this was completely overtaken by the outcome of the Syrian National Council and Syrian National Initiative conferences in Doha in November 2012.
Born in Dariya in the Rif Damascus governorate in 1976, Ziadeh is a trained dentist but never practiced due to his involvement in political and human rights activism. Most notably, he has worked with the Syrian Organization for Transparency, the Transitional Justice in the Arab World project, and the United Nations Development Program’s Syria 2025 project. In 2005, he founded and directed the Damascus Center for Human Rights Studies (Syria) and in 2008 co-founded and directed the Syrian Center for Political and Strategic Studies (Washington, D.C.). Ziadeh is currently based in Washington D.C., where he is a visiting scholar at the Institute for Middle East Studies at George Washington University and a senior fellow at the U.S. Institute of Peace.