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High-Risk Education in Aleppo
Aleppo, Syria
By Mahmoud Alhaji Othman
11 May 2016

January 10, 2016
Aleppo, Syria

Despite shelling and barrel bomb attacks, students and volunteer instructors are still showing up at al-Risala school in the rebel held Hanano area in the northern city of Aleppo, Syria.

With no or little resources, the teachers are trying to give students a basic education in the absence of a school curriculum in areas controlled by the Syrian opposition.

The school is located in a district which has been targeted in shelling and airstrikes. “The students and teachers are in danger, the building might be heavily damaged or even destroyed at any moment” says Ibrahim al-Ali, the school principal. “We have no choice but to keep operating at high risk. This is the situation in almost all schools in rebel held Aleppo”.

Interviews:

04:03
Nada, Teacher:
“The number of students is good, but we are short of instructors. Teachers are not available. Q: What are your main needs other than for teachers?
A: We actually need everything.. The school building needs restoration, the students have not received backpacks, the teachers have no support.. There’s a lack of everything.”

04:59
Abu Hassan, Teacher:
“I am the science teacher, I try my best to improve the scientific skills of the students whether in math or physics or chemistry. Q: How do you describe the student comprehension abilities?
A: Starting directly with the curriculum in books is impossible because the students did not have the chance to learn the basics. It’s been like a month since we started teaching them the basics, the simple operations such as addition and subtraction. Introduction to physics and introduction to chemistry, we are only teaching them the basics that they missed for now.”

05:43
Mohamed, Student:
“We are here in al-Risala School, in Hanano area.. We have few teachers, a teacher of mathematics and a teacher of religious education.. We have no other teachers, however they are trying to teach us the basics so we can understand the actual curriculum. I hope that Syria will be a safe and secure place again especially in Aleppo because Bachar al-Assad targets us with barrel bombs and has destroyed all areas of Aleppo. Even our instructors had to flee because of the massive shelling.”
Q: Did you see any fighter jets striking?
A: We’ve seen a lot, and barrel bombs are dropped over our heads.”

06:32
Zainab, Student:
“We have no books but they told us that they would bring us some. We came here to study but we have shortage of teachers. The teacher is trying his best to teach us. When winter comes we have no heaters and the windows are all damaged and we have no means to replace them. Every time we go out for recess helicopters come so they bring us back inside out of fear.”

07:04
Ibrahim al-Ali, School Principal:
“We are educating the students despite the lack of an educational system. Almost all teachers are volunteers. Some are university graduates, others have just graduated from school. They are all doing volunteer work with nothing in return. The condition of the school is miserable. The building needs restoration, electricity and water repairs. We face a persistent cut of electricity which is affecting the lighting in class rooms. We also need water tanks to store water. We are also expecting the problems which we went through last year such as lack of heaters and the windows destroyed because of the constant shelling and barrel bombs by the regime.”

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Video: Syria "Aleppo Bombing Aftermat...
Aleppo, Syria
By Mahmoud Alhaji Othman
30 Apr 2016

May 1st, 2016
Aleppo, Syria

Video shows aftermath of a barrel bomb attack on rebel held Hanano, an area in the northern city of Aleppo, Syria.
Volunteers from the "White Helmets" search and rescue organization responded after the bombing targeted a crowded market in central Hanano, leaving scores of dead and injured.

According to local activists in the opposition controlled part of Aleppo, Syrian regime forces have dropped numerous barrel bombs on residential areas since early April, targeting civilians and field hospitals.

On April 27, 2016 a bombing hit the "al-Quds" field hospital and killed over 50 people including Dr. Wassim Maaz, the only pediatrician remaining in rebel held Aleppo.

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Even the dead cannot escape the bombi...
Yarmouk Camp
By Rame ALsayaed
17 Apr 2015

The bodies of killed Yarmouk Camp residents, which have been discovered under the rubble, had to be buried in a playground because the main cemetery was plowed by air bombing.
Syrian government forces bombed the camp with explosive barrels at the same time as heavy clashes pitted ISIS fighters against various Palestinian and Syrian militias.

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Life Underground: Syrians Seek Surviv...
Hama
By TTM Contributor 9
11 Mar 2015

Hama, Syria
March 11, 2015

Rebels and civilians in the Latamina area of northern Syria have taken to digging mountain shelters in order to protect themselves from government forces. A rebel battalion called Tajmmu al-Izza (Pride Gathering), aligned to the Free Syrian Army and operative in rural parts of Idlib and Hama provinces, is doing the bulk of the digging.

The ensuing network of artificial caves provides a base for combatants, as well as a shelter for the dwindling numbers of civilians who have not fled the area. These caves also house a field hospital and pharmacy with 30 meter walls and continue to serve civilians and fighters alike. On the other hand, any makeshift medical centers built above ground were routinely bombed by Assad forces, according to an interviewed rebel spokesman.

This video shows detailed scenes of workers digging one of these makeshift caves with only simple tools, a task that usually takes about 12-15 days to be completed. Footage also includes interviews with the spokesman and the head of Tajmmu al-Izza.

SHOTLIST AND TRANSCRIPT

Wide of rebel vehicles outside cave
Wide of entry point to caves guarded by rebels

Wide of workers digging
Wide of worker taking debris out using wheel barrow
Various of workers drilling rocks
Various of workers taking debris out using wheel barrow
Various of workers building protection wall to shield cave entrance from bomb shrapnel

Wide of makeshift pharmacy
Wide of nurse working in pharmacy
Wide of entrance and emergency room in makeshift medical center
Various of nurse handling medication
Various of medical workers setting up operation room
Close-up of nurse preparing injection

Various of medical worker setting up operation room
Interview with Ubada al-Hamwi, rebel spokesperson
Various/ cutaways of Ubada al-Hamwi
Various of makeshift medical center and other caves
Various of rebel fighters inside caves

Medium of batteries used to provide lighting
Various of rebels in an office inside a cave Various/ Cutaways of Major Jamil al-Saleh, head of Tajmmu al-Izza Rebel Group
Interview with Major Jamil al-Saleh, head of Tajmmu al-Izza Rebel Group
Various/ Cutaways of Major Jamil al-Saleh, head of Tajmmu al-Izza Rebel Group

SOUNDBITE (Arabic, Man) Ubada al-Hamwi, rebel spokesperson
05:26 – 07:22

“The hospital was built underground in a rocky cliff. The rocks above it are about 30 meters high. This was done because of the bombing carried out by the regime, using explosive barrels and rockets. There was a need for an underground hospital to be built in order to protect medical staff, as well civilians and [fighters] who are being treated from injuries. The hospital has been established about 11 months ago. Most of the cases involve civilians injured in bombings. They could be injured by bomb shrapnel or suffer amputation. [The hospital provides] first aid to civilians. Fighters are usually treated from gunshots; undergo chest catheterization; and have shrapnel removed from their bodies as a result of mortar bombing. They also undergo surgery, which includes cutting the abdomen.
We needed a building that could protect doctors and medical workers, as well as the injured receiving treatment. An injured person feels more comfortable in a safe location.
Before we came up with this idea, we had an ordinary building that was repeatedly hit. We came up with this idea to provide the injured with safe and healthy conditions.
Digging was carried out using simple tools, such as drill compressors. The human effort involved was very large.”

07:02 – 07:22
“I am 23 years old. I studied Physics – I was in my second year at Tishreen University in Lattakia. I left university and joined the revolution since the outbreak of the early demonstrations.”

SOUNDBITE (Arabic, Man) Major Jamil al-Saleh, head of Tajmmu al-Izza Rebel Group

08:58 - 13:01
"We resorted to building underground shelters and caves to protect ourselves from the barbaric air and artillery bombing carried out by the regime. We went to the mountains because the altitudes above the caves are quite high. Caves have at least 20 or 30 meters of altitude above them. This provides more protection for our men and equipment. Hence, we have become able to last longer under air and artillery bombing carried out by the regime, thanks be to God. This gives us more strength, thanks to the thickness of the walls, which we can achieve by digging into hills.
The digging process… we are able to provide health services as well as electricity and water, but we face difficulty in providing these services. The means that we, rebels, have are limited. We do not have digging machinery. We are using simple tools. We do not have good means to provide fortification. We rely on manual labor. Our men are making a big effort.
We are accelerating our work, theerfore it takes about 12-15 days to finish a cave. By the end of this time caves would be ready for our men to use them. About 12-15 days, depending on the area of the cave.
Aircraft bomb field hospitals the moment they are discovered, whether these hospitals are used by fighters or locals civilians. This is done to exert pressure on the rebels' popular support base. We had to build hospitals in protected areas the same way we built headquarters.

"Thanks be to God, medical staff are able to carry out their work under bombing because of these hospitals. They serve the civilians – this is something that we care much about. We are also protecting medical staff because we need them in the current war circumstances.
The number of caves is very large. Civilians as well as rebels have resorted to caves. Caves are everywhere because they protect us. It is difficult to remain in the northern part of Hama province without these caves.
We, as fighters, are able to follow up on our work thanks to God and these caves.
Civilians have to stay inside these caves to be able to live. They are not happy with this, but many people have no other alternative. They cannot leave the area. You saw the weather conditions that we experienced this year. There was a lot of rainfall and it was very cold. People suffered a lot.

Power is provided by generators and water is extracted from wells. The regime has stopped providing services, such as diesel and electricity. It is not only rebels; civilians suffer from this as well. There is no flour or bread. All of this is provided by aid organizations from Turkey because the regime has stopped offering these services two years ago.”

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Aleppo’s “White Helmets” Struggle to...
Aleppo
By ishmael
11 Nov 2014

Aleppo, Syria

November 4 and 12, 2014

In the rebel-held neighborhood of Bab al-Nairab rescue workers known as “White Helmets” face daily risks to save civilians’ lives.
Armed with sledge hammers and drilling compressors, these rescuers are the first responders after regime warplanes and helicopters drop explosive barrels on civilian buildings.
This video shows a rescue operation that lasted for more than 16 hours. While two people were pulled out of the rubble with minor wounds, a young girl and two men did not make it.
In another rescue caught on camera, two boys were saved as people lively cheered “God is great”. The boys’ mother was also saved.
Rescue workers say that they need heavy equipment such as excavation vehicles to work more efficiently. Acting faster could mean saving more lives, according to one to one the rescuers.

Shot List

00:00 – 00:17
A pan left movement shows rescue workers get in their headquarters get up in a hurry as one of them receives a call through his walkie-talkie.
00:18 – 00:43 A wide shot shows rescue workers get into a fire vehicle and the vehicle drives away.
00:44 – 00:57
A medium shot shows a rescue worker lifting the rubble of a demolished building with a shovel.
00:58 – 01:21
A medium shot shows a rescue worker making a hole in the demolished house roof with a large drilling compressor.
01:22 – 01:35 A medium shot shows a rescue worker breaking down the roof of a demolished building with a sledge hammer.
01:36 – 01:38
A close-up shot shows a man’s face while drilling sound can be heard in the background.
01:39 – 01:54
A zoom-out shot shows a man watching rescue workers digging the rubble of a demolished building.
01: 55 – 02:15
A wide shot shows rescue workers digging through the rubble from a different angle.

02:16 – 02:42

Interview with rescue worker (Man, Arabic)/ interview transcript below
“The previous team’s shift is over – they were working for eight hours. Now we came and we continue to work. “However, we lack equipment. We only have light equipment while we need heavy equipment. We need camera to detect dead bodies under the rubble. “As you can see, there is huge devastation and we need heavy equipment like excavation vehicles.”

02:43 – 02:54
A medium shot shows a rescue workers digging using drilling compressor.
02:55 – 03:12
A medium shot shows a rescue worker breaking the roof a demolished building with a sledge hammer, while another drills with a drilling compressor.

03:13 – 03:28
Two close-up shots show a rescue worker cutting the iron rods in a demolished building’s roof.
03:29 – 04:18
Several shots show a group of rescue workers digging through the roof of a demolished building.
04:19 – 04:42
A medium shot shows a drilling compressor and a sledge hammer operated by rescue workers.

04:43 – 05:40
Interview with / interview transcript below
“I am the head of a civil defense team made of two groups – each one is made of six members and a driver. We are facing a lot of difficulties.
The team has been working for the past 24 hours – one group replaced another.
The difficulties we are facing are the lack of equipment. We have manual equipment such as drilling compressors and electric saws. This issue is causing us a lot of problems.
Also, we cannot communicate with each other.
We need modern vehicles – we cannot do achieve anything with the vehicles that we have. After every strike, the equipment breaks down after 10 minutes.
We need newer and more effective equipment.
The guys are working for around 24 hours – from day to night. We dug out a 40-year-old man who was already dead. He might have died because we were late."

05:41 – 05:59
A wide shot shows a group of rescue workers eating together.

06:00 – 08:03
Interview with rescue worker (Man, Arabic)

“I am a resident of Bab al-Nairab neighborhood. We are being bombed every day because our area is at the center of the liberated area. We are currently suffering from heavy bombing from the regime’s warplanes.
In this strike, at least 10 people were killed; most of them were kids. In the civil defense, we are suffering from a lack of equipment. We urgently need heavy equipment to save these kids. We work to save people.
We suffer a lot. We work for 24 hours on end.
In this strike, we have been working for 48 hours. Work is very slow. We need heavy equipment such as [excavation] vehicles. We have none of these.
We are repeatedly asked about we need, and it is as if we are not saying anything. I hope that we receive with equipment as soon as possible for the sake of children; for the sake of the people living here.
I also like to say the population of Bab al-Nairab was around 200,000 people; today there are less than 25,000.
“What is the reason? It is because of the continuous bombing and the lack of equipment."

08:04 – 08:22
A medium shot shows rescue workers resting in the evening. A man is watching TV while the rest play cards.
08:23 – 08:38
A medium shot shows a rescue at rest, lying down and watching TV.
08:39 – 09:39
Interview with / interview transcript below
“We are at the Bab al-Nairab, in the central district of Aleppo. We cover the entire central district, including the Old City. “We are 30 people, split into two groups – one for firefighting and another for rescue. The firefighting group is made of four members and a driver, while the other group is made of six members and a driver. “We suffer a lot because the fire vehicle keeps breaking down and we cannot repair it here. It was hit several times and was severely damaged and the damages were difficult to repair. It is very difficult to make repairs in Aleppo city. “We urge donors to give attention to the city of Aleppo and help with providing vehicles. We sincerely thank them.”

09:40 – 10:16
Interview with a civilian resident of Bab al-Nairab (Man, Arabic)

“I am a resident of Bab al-Nairab. Around seven or eight days ago, a barrel bomb fell in our neighborhood. “I stayed under the rubble for two hours and my brother for 24 hours; he was dead. The civil defense team, may God repay their deeds, kept working for 24 hours. They did not stop until they got us out. “My little girl died and the civil defense got her out, thanks be to God.” 10:17 – 10:49
A medium shot shows two boys with upper bodies sticking out of the rubble while rescue workers try to dig them out.
10:50 – 11:09
A medium shot shows the rescue workers digging out the two boys from a different angle. They manage to pull one of the boys amid cries of “God is great.”

11:10 – 11:56
Interview with Bab al-Nairab resident (Man, Arabic)
“The civil defense does a humanitarian work. It has nothing to do with militarization. “Rescue workers are being held back during their work. In the Bustan al-Qasr neighborhood, it took three days to remove the rubble of a building and pull out the people who were stuck. It was due to a shortage of equipment.
“They do not have excavation vehicles. They dig people out with their hands. We urge donors to provide them with vehicles. “May God give them [rescue workers] strength. They take big risks. Sometimes another explosive barrel falls near them while they are in the middle of a rescue operation and some of them get killed. “They are the first to arrive at the site where an explosive barrel falls. May God repay their good deeds and protect them.”
11:57 – 12:04
A medium shot shows rescue workers carry a person on a stretcher.

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Aleppo Barrel Bomb Attack (2 of 10)
Aleppo, Syria
By Transterra Editor
09 Apr 2014

Camera tracks toward smoke plume in Aleppo following what residents and monitoring groups describe as a barrel bomb dropped by a Syrian Military helicopter.
لقطات لدخان اسود كثيف يتصاعد في شارع قريب والكاميرا تتوجه اليه وسماع اصوات سيارات الاسعاف تهرع الى المكان بتاريخ ٣١-٠١-٢٠١٤

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Aleppo Barrel Bomb Attack (3 of 10)
Aleppo, Syria
By Transterra Editor
09 Apr 2014

Interview with a father standing in the rubble where he lost three children in the explosion that destroyed his home on February 1, 2014. Residents and monitoring groups describe the event as a barrel bomb attack carried out by the Syrian Military.

We are the children of this country, this is our destiny, because we are Muslims. Do you kill us in our homes because we are Muslims? Is this something you would want to see? Is this what Islam looks like to you? (...) We are Muslims because Abu Bakr is our master! They're killing us! They're making us pay! Assad be damned! Damn him my children are gone! I am 55 years old, I will keep fighting and resisting, and I will sacrifice my own blood for this soil and this land! This is our soil, these are our houses! He killed us! He killed our children! This is our country! You blame the Iranian and the Shiite and the Devil's party! We don't come from Europe? At least we don't belong to an organization.. Al-Qaeda. We are Muslims, children of this country! We have human rights!

  • Question: What happened here?

Barrel bomb attack.. This is my house.. My three children are gone! This is my house.. We buried the three.. This is my house here, this is the barrel bomb shelling, this is al-Assad. We have a human right to life. Where are human rights in Europe? An animal has a right to life.

  • It is said that he is killing terrorists..

We are not terrorists, we are civilians.. we are civilians living in our houses, we are not terrorists, nor terrorist organizations, we are civilians. There's nothing left for us, we don't have work, no water, no electricity, no money, we have nothing left! He's shelling us with barrel bombs. God snap his neck!

  • What kind of attack was it?

Shelling, barrel bombs, by helicopters, by barrel exlosives! My three children were killed here!

  • How many were killed?

Three! My 3 children are gone! We pulled their pieces from under the rubble!

  • What would you like to say to the international community?

To the international community, to the United Nations.. We are humans, we are the children of this country.. We have the right to live, we are Muslims and we are going to defend our religion, our prophet Mohammad, Abu Bakr, and Ali. We will defend them with our own blood.

Another man: You think they can't see us? It's been 3 years.

They don't see us. They're doing this because we are Muslims.

مقابلة مع (أبو عماد) بعدما تدمر منزله نتيجة القصف، وفقد 3 من أولاده بسبب القصف بتاريخ ٢٦-٠١-٢٠١٤

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Aleppo Barrel Bomb Attack (4 of 10)
Aleppo, Syria
By Transterra Editor
09 Apr 2014

Aftermath on Aleppo streets following what residents and monitoring groups describe as a lethal Barrel Bomb attack carried out by the Syrian Military.

صور لاشتعال الحرائق ثم لقطات لطائرة في السماء وبعدها سماع دوي انفجار ،لقطات للحرائق ومواطنون يركضون ويصرخون الله وأكبر ولقطات للشارع والدمار الذي أصابه بتاريخ ٣١-٠١-٢٠١٤

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Aleppo Barrel Bomb Attack (5 of 10)
Aleppo, Syria
By Transterra Editor
09 Apr 2014

Aftermath on Aleppo streets following what residents and monitoring groups described as a barrel bomb attack carried out by the Syrian Military.
لقطات لمكان سقوط البرميل واشتعال الحرائق وحالات الهلع بين السكان بتاريخ ٣١-٠١-٢٠١٤

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Barrel Bombs Dropped on Aleppo
Aeppo, Syria
By Transterra Editor
04 Feb 2014

Civilians in the neighborhood of Aldzmata, Aleppo came to the aid of the injured as a result of a shelling by the Syrian regime on their neighborhood in the form of barrels filled with explosives dropped from helicopters.

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Barrel Bombs Dropped on Aleppo
Aleppo, Syria
By Transterra Editor
03 Feb 2014

Elements of the oppositions civil defense collecting the remains of one of the victims of the bombardment launched by Syrian government forces on the neighborhood.

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Barrel Bombs Dropped on Aleppo
Aleppo, Syria
By Transterra Editor
03 Feb 2014

Civilians in the neighborhood of Aldzmata, Aleppo came to the aid of the injured as a result of a shelling by the Syrian regime on their neighborhood in the form of barrels filled with explosives dropped from helicopters.

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Barrel Bombs Dropped on Aleppo
Aleppo, Syria
By Transterra Editor
03 Feb 2014

Civilians in the neighborhood of Aldzmata, Aleppo came to the aid of the injured as a result of a shelling by the Syrian regime on their neighborhood in the form of barrels filled with explosives dropped from helicopters.

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Barrel Bombs Dropped on Aleppo
Aleppo, Syria
By Transterra Editor
03 Feb 2014

Civilians in the neighborhood of Aldzmata, Aleppo came to the aid of the injured as a result of a shelling by the Syrian regime on their neighborhood in the form of barrels filled with explosives dropped from helicopters.