Wissam is a Journalism student in Moscow and former Syrian Army officer. After being forbidden by his advisor teacher of writing his final paper on the farce of Russian coverage of the conflicts on Syria, a brainwashing aimed to make Russians stand by Bashar al Assad and the Russian government protecting him, he decides to head back to his homeland to make a film and show Russians what's really going on in his country. The film depicts Wissam's entrance in Syria by a Free Syrian Army controled border, citizens running from snipers and their stations working mode, temporary hospitals, refugees crossing the border with Turkey, destroyed Suni mosques, schools, residential buildings by government army's bombs and contains interviews with refugees (internal and fleeing abroad), injured, FSA soldiers etc.
This is a 15 min, full-HD documentary film.
(VO) My name is Wissam and I'm from Syria, I'm a student of Journalism in my final year ...In Moscow The reason why I came to study in a country that lacks freedom of press is that Russia was the only country to give me a visa after I resigned. Oh, I forgot to tell you... I was an officer in the Syrian army
(VO) After the Syrian dictator Hafez al-Assad's death, his son Bashar inherited the power for that, the Constitution was amended, in the world's fastest assembly. The former Constitution demanded that the minimum age for being president should be 40 years of age.
They've changed it for 34, the age of Bashar at the time I realized it was about time to write my resignation letter and leave Syria I didn't see my mom for the last 8 years I was afraid of visiting my family in Syria since an old friend from the army told me I was wanted
by the Syrian intelligence they've received a report from the embassy in Moscow saying I was against the regime I remembered my father at that point When I was a kid, he used to say: “The walls have ears” By that time, I didn't understand He lived 79 years in fear. When I was in the army, he advised me not to speak about the regime in front of other officers I used to find it funny, him worried about me, and then he told me: “These people are criminals, you didn't see what I saw” Once, he told me about an event so that I could understand his uncommon fear of the regime He told me how the army came and took one person from each house during the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, in 1980, in Aleppo They took around 100 people, among them children and elderly. It was a very difficult moment for my father, when he saw his childhood friends lined against the wall and get executed These crimes were called Al Mashariqa Massacre, named after the neighborhood where it occurred That's how Hafez al-Assad controlled the country for 3 decades, committing the worse massacres of these times The most famous of them was the Hama Massacre In this city, he killed dozens of thousands of civilians through shelling and artillery in 1982
(VO) In March 2011, the revolution began in Syria I realized then that the blood series started again The dictator inherited from his father not only the country, but also his criminality The difference this time was the will of the people, which had already changed with the generations The dictator used all means of intimidation, such as executions, torture and rape to eliminate the peaceful protests He counts on the support of loyal states, such as Iran and Russia, which provide him with weapons and hinder international resolutions against him But with the continuous bloodshed, people decided to take up arms and defend themselves After the liberation of wide areas in Aleppo, I decided to go back there where I grew up and from where I was away for a long time
(VO) This is the border of Bab al Salam, the security entrance which leads to Turkey
Bashar’s hired thugs, the “shabihha”, spent a long time in the region stealing The “Shabihha” used these offices to torment civilians A bunch of impolite people who got from the regime the power of making Syrian people’s lives unbearable
(Wissam says) But, thank God for the Free Syrian Army and free militias, we are free!
(Driver shout) Peace be upon you!
(VO) We entered Aleppo during the night to avoid the air strikes and snipers I was afraid, but my fears spread away when I saw the first FSA control station
(Militia) Peace be upon you!
Where are you from?
(Driver) Aleppo (Militia) Where in Aleppo? (Driver) Al Jamiliyeh (Militia) Show me your documents (Driver) Here it is (Militia) Brother, could you show me your document as well? There are people trying to infiltrate during the night
(Driver) Ok, ok Did we arrive in Al Mushat already?
(Militia) It's Al Mushat! (Driver) We didn't realize because it's night We are part of your Tawhid Brigade
(Militia) Welcome! Honestly, it's because the regime infiltrated last week and took two of us
(Driver) Really? (Militia) Yes! Take care in Al Sinaa! The regime's snipers killed already 4 people there!
So much destruction made impossible for me to recognize the streets where I grew up The smell of blood replaced the fragrance of flowers
The sound of shelling took the place of birds singing The birds, just like the Syrian people, either died or ran away Young people lost their limbs in savage shelling I couldn't see any of this on Russian TV in 2 years of revolution World history doesn't know anyone who have killed its own people and destroyed its own country such as Bashar al Assad This fool overcame the madness of Nero burning Rome, and didn't spare women, children or elderly
(Wissam) This is an innocent 2year old child “Mig” bomber planes killed her parents and she was rescued by a civilian who brought her to a temporary hospital
(Wissam) Cluster bombs are still incubated. There it is. Bombs that didn't explode. It's a danger to every civilian who lives in this building, because inside there are dozens of bombs. It's internationally forbidden to use these bombs in populated areas. But this criminal regime doesn't see the difference between civilians and militaries. It points to residential buildings just to force people to leave Syria
(Wissam) This... We can hear the snipers, who’d target anyone that crosses the parallel street. They are based there, to the left. These are residential areas, which were abandoned because of the air strikes. Assad's snipers are on the top of the buildings. Anything that crosses their field of view will be targeted: children, women, and elderly... Even a dog or a cat!
(Wissam) Now we are in a building in Salah al Deen neighborhood and, because of the snipers, we are going to cross trough these wholes that the FSA opened. The fear of snipers forced these people to flee. Even they left their clothes behind. They left everything in the wardrobe.
Here is a sniper shot. Looking down... Two more shots. And one here, through the glass. I can't continue, or a sniper will notice us.
This is a kitchen in a residence. They even targeted a kitchen... There are no terrorists here. It's a peaceful people's home.
(FSA soldier) Can you see him? (Wissam) I see! (FSA soldier) Do you want me to open the curtain a little bit? (Wissam) No, no, I see it! (Wissam) That's a mosque’s minaret in front of this house. There it is one, of them... There are many snipers based there. He shoots! He shoots, targeting civilians...
(FSA soldier) I'm an army deserter (Wissam) Why did you desert? (FSA soldier) Because of the injustice we presented (Wissam) Where did you serve? (FSA soldier) In Qatana's 10th platoon (Wissam) Did they order you to kill peaceful protesters? (FSA soldier) Yes (Wissam) Or isn't it true? (FSA soldier) Of course, and they gave us pills... (Wissam) They medicated you? (FSA soldier) Yes (Wissam) And the protesters? (FSA soldier) They'd put us in front of the protesters and told us to open fire. They didn't have permission to pass by. We wanted to protect the people, but we were only protecting a throne.
(VO) After all this, I arrived to my uncle's home. I wanted to surprise him with my visit. But I was the one surprised. The building was already empty.
Aleppo is a historical city that the terror of the regime turned into a ghost city. People abandoned
their neighborhoods, leaving behind piles of pain and destruction that tears won't eliminate from
(Wissam) Did they shoot you in your leg? (Old man) They shot 4 times (Wissam) 4 times! (Old man) Russian shots AK-47 And what happened to you? (Old man) It’s broke! This bone here was shattered as well. Yes, it’s broke. (Wissam) Was it the Syrian army? (Old man) It was Bashar al-Assad's army! (Wissam) May God heal you! Who destroyed all this?
(Old man) It was his bombers and mortars, which invaded the Martyrs' street. We renamed it... (Wissam) Martyr's street? (Old man) We called it this way... (Wissam) Why Martyr's street? (Old man) Because during peaceful protests the regime opened fire and killed 14 civilians in here. The army sacked us, stole us, emptied our homes.
(Wissam) “Bashar's men passed here”... This school was used as a prison and headquarters. It was terrible for this neighborhood’s people.
(Wissam) “Scud” soviet missiles are sent from the capital, about a Km from Aleppo. Artillery and aviation are the means used to terrify the remaining population and force it to obey
(Boy) He attacked us with missiles, cluster bombs, “Mig” and “Shukhoi” airplanes...
(Woman) We came here because of Bashar. May he go to hell!
(Wissam) Why are you in this mosque? (Kid) Because of the bombings (Wissam) did you flee to the mosque because of the bombings?
(Wissam) What's your name? (Girl) Kifaa (Wissam) What? (Girl) Kifaa (Wissam) How old are you, Kifaa? (Girl) I'm seven years old (Wissam) Why do you live in the mosque? (Girl) They bombed our house
(VO) Terrifying the local population and destroying their homes, forcing people to flea the homeland: this is the regime's policy to try to eliminate the revolution.
(Refugee) The air force is bombing the Northern villages
(Wissam) The air force?
(Wissam) Might God protect you!
Is your family in Turkey?