FSA Fights to Protect Civil Status Registry

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Eastern Ghouta, Syria
November 2014

A Free Syrian Army (FSA) group took over the civil status registry near Damascus. The official building contains documents such as birth certificates, identity card application forms and marriage contracts.

FSA fighters claim that they moved the documents through tunnels to a safe location after discovering that part of them has been damaged by the fighting.

This footage shows the battle to take over the civil status office near Damascus and the official building from the inside. A large amount of personal status documents can be seen, some of them torn.

Fighters can be seen in the video carrying large bags of documents through tunnels.

Shot List

1 Wide of fighter shooting through hole.
2 Wide of fighters running to re-position.
3 Wide of fighters taking cover.
4 Medium of fighter shooting through hole.
5 Wide of fighters taking cover.
6 Wide of shooting machine gun mounted on vehicle.
7 Wide of smoke.
8 Wide of destroyed buildings.
9 Various of fighters running/ walking amid rubble

10 SOUNDBITE (Arabic, Man) FSA commander Abu al-Jud

"We took over the civil registry office and the mosque. We advanced from the right side and took over Lamees area, and we also took over the Mazda company building. We are now very close to the municipality."

11 Close up of sign “Store” 12 Close up sign “Documents Certification”
13 Close up of writing on wall.
14 Close up of computers.
15 Close up of writing on wall.
16 Close up of ID cards.
17 Wide of inside building.
18 Various ID application forms for ID.
19 Close of birth certificate.
20 Various of torn documents.
21 Close up of broken ID, spent bullets on the floor.
22 Close up of IDs on the floor.
23 SOUNDBITE (Arabic. Man) FSA commander Mufid Abdel Hadi

"After liberating the civil registry office, we realized the importance of the documents that the regime tried to burn. We informed special committees about the documents and they confirmed that we need to recover them. We dug underground tunnels with the help of fighters and we took the documents to a safe place."

24 Medium of men taking documents out of bags
25 Close up of fighter taking documents out of bag.

26 SOUNDBITE (Arabic, Man) FSA commander Abu al-Jud

“Some of these documents are burnt.”

27 Wide of registry books.
28 Various of torn documents.
29 Wide of fighters carrying bags through tunnel.
30 Various of documents.
31 SOUNDBITE (Arabic, Man) Uabada, Member of pro-opposition Legal Office

"We are now in the civil registry office for Damascus and its rural areas. We are at the front line of Erbeen, since it has been liberated by the fighters. The office is always a target for shelling and bombing by the regime. We found many important documents such as birth and death certificates, marriage licenses, and civil documents for people from Damascus and its rural areas. Not only for inhabitants of Erbeen, but also those from Kalamoon, Haramoon, and al-Yarmouk camp."

32 Various of fighters walking through tunnel.