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Lebanese Snowstorm Adds to Misery of ...
Aarsal
By TTM Contributor 32
19 Feb 2015

Set largely against a bleak grey sky, this video sheds light on the rough conditions in which many are forced to spend the winter months in Ersal, a northern Lebanese town with a large population of Syrian refugees that's long since been troubled with spillover from the civil war next door. The scene of major clashes between the Lebanese government and Al-Nusra/ISIS in August 2014, the video reveals the town's struggles to cope with harsh winter conditions such as strong wind and snow storms.

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Nusra Front Fighters in Lebanon: “We ...
Outskirts of Arsal
By TTM Contributor 32
08 Feb 2015

Arsal, Lebanon
February 8, 2015

This video shows fighters from the Nusra Front in the outskirts of the Lebanese of Arsal, located on the border with Syria, conducting maneuvers with live ammunition. Video also includes rare interviews with two members of the Nusra Front acknowledging that their group is holding Lebanese soldiers captive and accusing the Lebanese government and Hezbollah of thwarting negotiations to release them.

The fighters also claim that the Nusra Front is protecting the Syrian refugees in Arsal.

At least 40 Islamist fighters in the nearby border area of Ras Baalbek were killed in clashes with the Lebanese Army on January 23.

Fighters from the Nusra Front and the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, took control of Arsal in August 2014 for several days and kidnapped dozens of Lebanese soldiers and security officers and executed some of them. Lebanese government forces regained control of Arsal while hills outside the town are still controlled by fighters from these two groups.

On February 13, 2015, following the broadcast of this video, the Nusra Front said that the comments made in the interviews here do not represent the official position of the organization.

SHOTLIST AND TRANSCRIPT

  1. Various of streets in Arsal
  2. Traveling of Dawar al-Barmil street in Arsal; Islamic State flag graffiti can be seen on the wall
  3. Wide/ R-L pan of Arsal Municipality building
  4. Wide/ L-R pan of Arsal
  5. Various of fighters training to occupy military posts using live ammunition
  6. Close-up of fighters’ hands while making tea
  7. Close-up of fighter’s hands filling up a Kalashnikov magazine

SOUNDBITE (Arabic, Man) Abu Bakr al-Mujahid, Nusra Front Fighter
04:09 – 05:06
“We are in Arsal because there are Syrian refugees. We are protecting them, God willing. What is more important is that Arsal is adjacent to Shiite villages, where there rawafidh [pejorative term for Shiites] and the Party of Satan [Hezbollah], who are slaughtering our children in Syria. We do not interfere in the politics of the Lebanese government. Had Hezbollah not intervened [in Syria] we would not have interfered with [Lebanese politics]. Concerning our numbers and equipment, we usually do not disclose information about this. These are military secrets. We are positioned on the frontlines adjacent to the Nussairi [Alawite] enemy in Syria. We ask God almighty to keep us steadfast and patient to exterminate this enemy.

SOUNDBITE (Arabic, Man) Abu Qutada al-Ansari, Nusra Front Fighter
05:07 – 07:04

"We are present in Arsal because there are Syrian refugees. We take care of protecting and supporting them, with the will of God. More importantly, Arsal is adjacent to the rawafidh villages and the Safavid Party of Satan. We do not interfere in the policies of the Lebanese state. Had the Party of Satan not intervened [in Syria] we would not have interfered with [Lebanese politics]. In the name of God,
We did not kidnap Lebanese soldiers, but we are negotiating with the Lebanese government. We are currently holding [the Lebanese soldiers] and they are in our care. Our demands are clear and are not costly for the Lebanese state: let the men and women out of your prisons and you shall be given the Lebanese prisoners immediately. It is not us who are complicating things. It is your government which is placing hurdles in the way of releasing them [the Lebanese soldiers]. Unfortunately, the Party of Satan was able to drag the Lebanese State into things that have bad consequences. [Hezbollah] is placing obstacles and causing the failure of the negotiations. Nevertheless, negotiations are still ongoing but extremely slowly. As I told you before, it is not us who are causing the negotiations to fail. "

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Hepatitis Outbreak Amongst Syrian Ref...
Ersal
By Loujain Rabbat
11 Nov 2014

November 11 and 12, 2014
Ersal, Lebanon

Produced by: Loujain Rabbat
Filmed and Directed by: Wadih El Hayek

Syrian refugees in the town of Ersal in east Lebanon fled their war-torn country in search for security. The living conditions in Lebanon’s refugee camps, however, are far from what they would have hoped for.

The lack of sanitation infrastructure and proper medical care is believed to be behind a recent hepatitis A outbreak among refugees in Ersal. Dr. Qassem Zein, a Syrian physician who works in a local health center, estimates the number of infections is more than 1,000.

Recent clashes between the Lebanese Army and militants believed to be affiliated with ISIS and Al-Nusra Front also contributed to deteriorating the refugees’ living conditions.

Many camps were destroyed and sanitary infrastructure in the remaining ones was damaged in the fighting. The Lebanese Army has also carried out mass arrests among refugees on suspicion of hiding weapons and harboring militants. According to the physician, this deprived families of their providers and worsened their living conditions, making them more prone to disease.

Shot list:

00:00 – 00:29

Drive-by shot of Lebanese Army tanks being transported on carriers near Ersal (Archive, Aug. 2014).

00:30 – 01:15

Lebanese Army tanks heading to Ersal (Archive, Aug. 2014).

01:16 – 01: 40

Medium-wide shot/tilt down of two Syrian refugee camps in Ersal

Medium shot of Unicef tent in a Syrian refugee camp in Ersal

Close up of Unicef tent in a Syrian refugee camp in Ersal

Pan right/Medium shot of Syrian refugee camp in Ersal

Pan left/Medium shot of Syrian refugee camp in Ersal

01:41 – 01:49

Medium shot of Syrian refugees sitting outside tent

Medium-close shot of Syrian refugees sitting outside tent

Medium shot of clothes hanging to dry in Syrian refugee camp in Ersal

01:50 – 02:10

Wide shot of Syrian refugee girl in the street

Medium shot of two Syrian refugee girls crossing street

Medium/close shot of Syrian refugee girls chatting

02:11 – 02:32

Medium shot of a refugee family’s tent in Ersal with motorcycle parked outside (establishing shot for interview with a Syrian mother)

Medium shot of water tanks in front of refugee family’s tent

Close-up shot of water dripping from the water tank tap

Medium shot of water dripping from the water tank tap

02:33 – 03:23

Close-up shot of a girl filling water from the tank to make coffee

Moving shot of girl going inside tent to make coffee

Medium shot of girl lighting portable gas stove to make coffee

Close-up shot of coffee pot on portable gas stove

Medium shot of girl adding sugar to coffee pot and stirring

Close-up of coffee pot on portable gas stove

Medium shot of girl’s face

Medium shot of girl stirring coffee

Close-up shot of girl adding coffee to coffee pot and stirring

Medium shot of girl adding coffee to coffee pot and stirring

03:24 – 03:35
Interview with Um Hasan, a refugee from the Syrian city of Qussair and mother of two children infected with Hepatitis A, Arabic/ interview transcript below

03:36 – 03:41

Medium shot of a girl making coffee

03:42 – 04:38

Interview with Um Hasan, a refugee from the Syrian city of Qussair and mother of two children infected with Hepatitis A, Arabic/ interview transcript below

04:39 – 04:55

Driving shot following Abu Hasan and his son Majd on way to clinic through the streets of Ersal

04:56 – 05:20

Medium/ close-up shots of “no weapons allowed” sign on clinic door

Medium shot of two men standing outside the clinic
Medium shot of two men standing outside the clinic

05:21 – 05:26

Medium shot/ close-up shot of signs that read “Clinics for Examining Syrian Refugees in Ersal;” “Al-Bunian Health Center- Ersal. Al-Bunian Campaign- Kuwait, in cooperation with The Society of Humanitarian Cooperation – Lebanon.”

05:27 – 05:40

Interview with Majd Raed, 13-year-old male Syrian refugee infected with Hepatitis A, Arabic/ interview transcript below

05:41 – 05:49

Medium shot/ close-up shot of signs that read “Clinics for Examining Syrian Refugees in Ersal;” “Al-Bunian Health Center- Ersal. Al-Bunian Campaign- Kuwait, in cooperation with The Society of Humanitarian Cooperation – Lebanon.”

05:50 – 05:56

Cut away of Majd Raed, 13-year-old child infected with Hepatitis A – Eyes

05:57 – 06:12

Interview with Majd Raed, 13-year-old male Syrian refugee infected with Hepatitis A, Arabic/ interview transcript below

06:14 – 06:16

Cut away of Majd Raed, 13-year-old child infected with Hepatitis A – Hands

06:17 – 08:56

Interview with Dr. Qassem Zein, head of clinic for Syrian refugees in Ersal, Arabic/ interview transcript below

08:57 – 09:00

Cut-away shot of Dr. Qassem behind his desk

09:01 - 09:24

Interview with Dr. Qassem Zein, head of clinic for Syrian refugees in Ersal, Arabic/ interview transcript below

09:25 – 09:46
Cut-away shot of Dr. Qassem behind his desk

09:47 – 11:22

Interview with Dr. Qassem Zein, head of clinic for Syrian refugees in Ersal, Arabic/ interview transcript below

11:23 – 11:45

Cut-away shot of Dr. Qassem behind his desk

Interviews

Interview with Um Hasan, a refugee from the Syrian city of Qussair and mother of two children infected with Hepatitis A, Arabic

03:24 – 03:35

“Three kids are with me here – a son and daughter aged 13 and a younger 8-year-old boy –and I have a married daughter outside [in another camp in Ersal].”

03:42 – 03:56

“Mohammad [the youngest] has been sick for a month, and thank God he is now getting better. And now, my 13-year-old son has [contracted the disease]. We did the test for him and the results showed that he is infected with jaundice.”

03:57 – 04:19

“Here, where we are staying, there were two or three cases in our neighborhood. They say it could be contracted from others and from the water, or caused by lack of hygiene. Look at how we are living. I do not know how my kids caught the disease.”

04:20 – 04:38

“Sometimes, we get water from mobile tanks and we do not know its source. Most of the times we fill our tanks from the water supplied here [in Ersal] and we fill our tanks with it. And recently, we have been adding disinfectants to the water.”

Interview with Majd Raed, 13-year-old male Syrian refugee infected with Hepatitis A, Arabic

05:27 – 05:29

“[My name is] Majd Raed, I am 13 years old.”

05:30 – 05:40

“I feel dizzy and nauseated and I cannot stand up. I also feel tired and vomit, and my head hurts.”

05:50 – 05:52

“I could have contracted it from someone, or from the water we are drinking.”

05:57 – 06:12

“I take protective measures – I eat from my own plate and drink from my own glass. I eat molasses and jam and stay away from oil.”

06:17 – 06:45

Interview with Dr. Qassem Zein, head of clinic for Syrian refugees in Ersal, Arabic

“The situation is bad. Children were not getting vaccinated and there are many widespread diseases. [Parents] were not able offer treatment to their children. Medical treatment and medicines are very expensive. The [refugees] live in inhumane conditions in the camps, like the lack of a proper sewage system, drinking water grid. They are not provided with cleaning supplies and water periodically, either. All of this is causing diseases to spread.”

06:46 – 06:52

“We used to see isolated of hepatitis A; now there is an epidemic. This year, there is a real epidemic.”

06:53 – 07:41

“This epidemic spreads quickly because it is transmitted through water and shared food utensils. It turns into an epidemic especially in the circumstances under which the refugees are living – lack of proper sewage system and clean water. Vegetables are watered with waste water and then carry and spread the disease. They [refugees] are unable to maintain their hygiene because of the lack of clean water in each tent. The first day we get a child from a family, the next day we get his brother or sister. This unfortunately keeps going on.”

07:42 – 08:06

“Last month, we documented 182 cases after running tests in one month. We know that usually 30% of patients get jaundice because of hepatitis, while here around 70% of them are mistakenly diagnosed with the flu. Therefore, the number [of hepatitis A infections] in Ersal definitely exceeded 1000 cases. Unfortunately, the disease is still spreading.”

08:07 – 08:14

“Even the United Nations stopped giving cleaning supplies. A refugee is unable to buy cleaning products or medicine.”

08:15 – 08:56

“When the army entered the camps several times, all men between the ages of 13 and 75 who are able to work were arrested and beaten. Even after they are released, they need time to be rehabilitated. During this time, who will provide for these families after their main provider is taken away? This has led to great deterioration. [These men] used to provide them with water and food. In addition, there is no aid. All this led to an increase in the spread of diseases.”

09:01 - 09:20

“People who come to join ISIS or Al-Nusra Front are looking to defend an ideology and a homeland, not to stay in the camps… To them death is something they wish for; they come become martyred, as they believe.”

09:25 – 09:43

“The clashes that happened in Ersal had a huge effect not only on the relationship between the refuges and the Lebanese Army but also between them and the town’s people. We used to see isolated cases of assault against refugees. Now it happens every day, even in Beirut.”

09:47 – 10:30

“The global system is contributing to people becoming more extremist and joining ISIS and Al-Nusra Front. Unfortunately, these groups have the resources and the financial means. They are in control of some oil and gas sources and they took over the banks of Mosul. They have a lot of money and are self-sufficient now.

“On the other hand, if a soldier defected to fight for freedom and topple the regime, where will he go? He cannot feed himself and his family here cannot rent a house or even a tent to live in, so they are all forced to join Al-Nusra Front. This is the main reason, not ideology.

10:35 – 11:22

“They [ISIS and Al-Nusra Front] made a mistake. We all admit that they were 100% wrong in entering Ersal, and even they are now convinced of that. They affected as well as refugees in all of Lebanon. They played a role in spreading epidemics and diseases and the lack of food and resources for the refugees. All the problems we are facing now are because of those clashes.

“But it is wrong for the Lebanese government and the Lebanese Army, which are official institutions, to respond to a mistake with another that is even worse – to deprive people of food and medications and arrest and torture people brutally. In this case, the blame would be more on these institutions than on terrorist groups, because these groups are [inherently] wrong.

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Syrian Militants Clash With Lebanese ...
Arsal
By mchreyteh
04 Aug 2014

August 3, 2014
Arsal, Lebanon

Syrian militants clash with Lebanese Army soldiers in the town of Arsal, east of Lebanon.
According to the Lebanese National News Agency, NNA, Syrian Islamists launched a series of assaults on Saturday, August 2nd, after the Lebanese army arrested the Al-Nusra Front commander Imad Jumaa.

Sergeant George Khouri, north of al-Qoubaiyat

Nahi Bou Khalfoun, Rachaya, al-Wadi

Soldier Mohamad Hamiye, Shmustar

Soldier Mohamad al-Kadri, Ghazze, West Bekaa

Soldier Ibrahim Shaaban, North of Akkar

Soldier Ahmed Gheye, North of Akkar

Wael Darwish, Cheheem

Rayan Salam, Deir al-Ahamr, Rachaya, al-Wadi

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Wounded Syrian Opposition Fighters in...
By Ali Majed
09 Apr 2014

Video shot on March 21, 2014 in Arsal, Lebanon
Syrian government troops took control of the strategic town of Yabroud near the border with Lebanon, on March 16, 2014. With nowhere else to flee, hundreds of Syrian rebel fighters retreated to the Lebanese border town of Arsal.

This video shows wounded Syrian opposition fighters receiving medical treatment in a hospital in Arsal. They talk about the fighting in Yabroud.
Interviews:
Fighter 1: I was in Yabroud, and I was injured by the helicopter. It was shooting and I got injured.
Fighter 2: I was injured at the front, in the battle. We were fighting and throwing bombs at one another while we were ten meters away from each other and the bomb hit us. I got injured while we were resisting them. My leg and my arm wre amputated while another bomb hit again and injured me one more time. They’re destroying our houses and dropping bombs on us and fighting us with artillery weapons and guns, slaughtering our children. This horrible system doesn’t have mercy for children or humans or nature or anything, criminals.
Abu Abdo Al Homsi -FSA fighter in Fjr Al Islam: I belong to the troop of Fajr Al Islam. I was fighting on the Yabroud front, Erbeen specifically. There are many types of weapons they used against us such as the “Cornet Rockets” that has a range of 7 kilometers. What is special about this rocket is that it has sensors that allow it to track the machinery wherever it goes. Another kind is the Thermobaric Weapons. It’s a kind of explosive that uses the oxygen in the surrounding and then explodes taking the whole house down.
Hezbollah was there, mostly “Badr” Troop, and also the troop of Abu Al Fadel Al Abbas which belongs to Iraq. I don’t know what to tell you. There was betrayal from many troops and the amount of weaponry was huge. Some people benefited from the death and suffering of the men you’ve seen. I’m a fighter and always will be, wherever I am I will always hold the banner of ‘’La Ilah Ella Allah, Mohammad Rasool Allah’’.
Shot List:
- Shot of the hospital in Ersal. - Interview with wounded FSA fighter 1 - Various shots of wounded FSA fighters. - Interview with wounded FSA fighter 2 - Various shots of wounded FSA fighters -Interview with Abu Abdo Al Homsi, an FSA fighter in Fajr Al Islam.