Frame 0004
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.”

Thumb sm
Ukraine: The Wait
Kiev, Ukraine
By Benas Gerdziunas
06 Dec 2015

Completed over the course of three trips to Ukraine in 2014/15, this multimedia piece explores the heavy silence of war - away from the war porn of frontline fighting and Western-Russain power plays. With Ukraine slipping back into the corrupt era of Yanukovich, the anxious wait for reforms, true independence and peace continues.

Frame 0004
Ukraine: The Wait 19
Mariupol, Ukraine
By Benas Gerdziunas
17 Oct 2015

Shells land 20 kilometers away. Four months later, in January 2016, a separatist rocket attack a few blocks away kills 30 civilians.

Frame 0004
Ukraine: The Wait 01
Mariupol, Ukraine
By Benas Gerdziunas
17 Oct 2015

Separatists’ diversionary raid on a railway bridge leaves passenger trains stranded in Mariupol, Donetsk region. After many months of idleness, the bridge was finally repaired.

Frame 0004
Ukraine: The Wait 07
Popasne, Luhansk Oblast
By Benas Gerdziunas
14 Oct 2015

[Radio chatter] Separatist positions report ‘111’ – ‘All clear’. Other call signs are ‘110’ – we’re being attacked; and ‘112’ – We’re attacking. It is believed, that the previously stationed Chechens and Don Cossacks have been replaced with regular Russian military combatants.

Frame 0004
Ukraine: The Wait 12
Kiev, Ukraine
By Benas Gerdziunas
14 Oct 2015

Ukrainian street musicians perform a song by a
Russian rock band, ‘Splin’

I want to fall asleep and never wake up
go away into the sea and not come back
or come back, but together

With you so much more interesting
with you so many interesting things around
and not even tight (suffocating)

Without the squares, railway stations, stops
without all these civilisations

One more sip - and we’re on fire
on one, two, three

Burn with fire, your third Rome
catch my rhythm
and dance, dance, dance, dance

Frame 0004
Ukraine: The Wait 15
Mayorsk, Donetsk Oblast
By Benas Gerdziunas
14 Oct 2015

The patrol passes along the village streets, dotted by drunk civilians and military personnel – a sign not so uncommon even before the war. Somewhere in the vicinity, a high ranking Ukrainian officer was assaulted and kidnapped with his armed escort a week before.

Thumb sm
Ukraine: The Wait 13
Zolote, Luhansk Oblast
By Benas Gerdziunas
30 Aug 2015

Sergei sits during night watch on the Permovaisk frontline, prepping his gun at the slightest noise in the distance; remains of an exploded 80mm mortar shell is a few meters away. In the morning, his face bathes in the warmth of a late summer’s sunrise.

“What a beautiful day, we all woke up alive.”

Sergei died on September 23rd during a skirmish, one day before he was due to return home.

Thumb sm
Ukraine: The Wait 09
Zolote, Luhansk Oblast
By Benas Gerdziunas
29 Aug 2015

“I came here to replace the guys who have been here for months without rotation, so someone can go home - not because I’m some big Ukrainian patriot,” says Vladislav, stationed in Zolote.

Even before the war, the old mining village was poor, with crumbling buildings dotting the streets. Now, with even less people remaining, pensioners gather for a daily market - made up of 5 stalls, overshadowed by a modest Lenin statue. Three blocks away, Ukrainian soldiers occupy the vacant houses, which are shelled on a nightly basis.

Thumb sm
Ukraine: The Wait 14
Popasne, Luhansk Oblast
By Benas Gerdziunas
29 Aug 2015

“One year ago, the commander put tanks in the first line, as if it was the Second World War; now you have accurate weapons – the whole crew died,” says one of the commanders.

The decrepit reminder of the war ruins the beautiful vista over the steppes of Donbas. Yet, the war is still on going, the steppes are the buffer zone, and the current trenches still scar the landscape, two meters behind the tank.

Thumb sm
Ukraine: The Wait 02
Kyiv
By Benas Gerdziunas
27 Aug 2015

Away from the headlines of Western-Russian power plays and war porn of frontline fighting; away from boys with a cause, imperial ambitions and the spectacle of war. What’s left is the chilling wait and anxiety. The sluggish nightmare immerses anyone unlucky enough to be caught up close – families stuck in the buffer zones, blaming elusive fascists,
as their men fight for the elusive Russians. The nightly grind of staring into the darkness of a frozen conflict, confined to the trench and radio transmitting enemy reports of your own movements; the sweeping apathy back home.

While Ukraine is slipping back into the corrupt era of Yanukovich, Eastern Ukraine is trapped in a disaster, which shows no signs of letting go. The anxious wait for reforms, true independence and peace continues.

Thumb sm
Ukraine: The Wait 08
Popasne, Luhansk Oblast
By Benas Gerdziunas
27 Aug 2015

The night passes peacefully, with sporadic pot-shots fired from the opposing lines; the Ukrainians do not respond. Without appropriate night-vision gear, the watch is spent chewing through bags of seeds – siemki, and a constant flow of tea and, if available, coffee.

Thumb sm
Ukraine: The Wait 11
Popasne, Luhansk Oblast
By Benas Gerdziunas
27 Aug 2015

Weapons sit idly, as the soldiers rest before the nightly grind.

Thumb sm
Ukraine: The Wait 06
Popasne, Luhansk Oblast
By Benas Gerdziunas
26 Aug 2015

After months without rotation, the prospects of an entrenched warfare remain bleak. Stationary frontline attritions grind is more reminiscent of World War One, than a 21st century battlefield. Faced with increasing apathy from their own society in Ukraine, many soldiers turn to bottle, or worst - chair and a rope – even if the problem has not yet reached epidemic proportions.

Frame 0004
The Fight for Aden's Airport
Aden, Yemen
By Edouard Dufrasne
04 May 2015

Aden, Yemen
May 3-4, 2015

Popular Committees fighters, with the help of special forces who arrived on the same day from Saudi Arabia, launched a large-scale attack in order to retake the airport from the Houthi militias on May 3. On that night, Saudi jet fighters carried out between 120 and 150 airstrikes on that strategically significant infrastructure. The next day, on May 4, the battle for Aden's airport is raging even more than the previous day.

Frame 0004
Ukraine: Fragile Ceasefire Marred by ...
Shyrokyne
By Azad Safarov
18 Apr 2015

Ukrainian members of the Azov Batallion exchange machine gun fire with pro-Russian separatists on the Shyrokyne front line, near Mariupol in east Ukraine. Despite the recent ceasefire, firefights and shelling resume, amid fears that the fragile ceasefire is on the verge of breaking down. The commander of the battalion says that the situation in Shyrokyne is very unstable, as pro-Russian separatists continue to fire machine guns and mortars towards their positions.

Frame 0004
Heavy Clashes, Destruction in Mualla ...
Mualla
By Amged Sabeeh
04 Apr 2015

Video of clashes and aftermath of shelling in the southern Yemeni city of Mualla near Aden.

SHOTLIST AND TRANSCRIPT

Travelling of killed child’s funeral procession of a
Moving shot of damaged building

SOUNDBITE (Man, Arabic) Unnamed Resident of Mualla
00:24 – 00:56
“Let the world see. They are bombing unarmed people, who do not have any weapons at all. The world needs to stand with the people who are suffering from injustice. The dignity of people is under attack and women and children are under bombing. The world has to understand that these are war profiteers who need to tried in front of the world. Where is human conscience? They say that people in northern Yemen are our brothers. The war involves the south only. They want to annihilate the people of the south. This is the truth.”

Various of damaged building
Wide of street battle

SOUNDBITE (Man, Arabic) Unnamed Resident of Mualla
01:24 – 01:57

“The Houthis and their allies, as well as the traitor Ali Abdullah Saleh, are bombing inhabited buildings with tanks. We are standing against them with utmost bravery. Our men and women are fighting against them. We will resist them with the help of God. We shall not accept this. Children! They have killed our children! They have killed our children! They destroyed our homes! But we shall remain steadfast, God willing. We will resist them.”

Wide of street battle
Wide/ zoom in of fleeing civilians
Traveling of injured southern separatist fighter being carried into ambulance
Wide of street battle

Thumb sm
Ukraine: The Wait 03
Paviopil, Donetsk Oblast
By Benas Gerdziunas
19 Mar 2015

Pavlopil and its 200 remaining inhabitants are stuck between Ukrainian and separatists frontlines. Devoid of jobs, schools or local amenities, the villagers attempt to co-exist. Days are spent farming and sitting in the front yards; it takes too long, and costs too much to get into neighbouring city of Mariupol.

“We share what we have – yes, you could say it’s real communism,” says one of those remaining.

Some families, however, did not have even the smallest luxury of a roof over their heads – their homes were destroyed in subsequent artillery duels.

Thumb sm
Ukraine: The Wait 18
Mariupol, Ukraine
By Benas Gerdziunas
17 Mar 2015

The separatists’ diversionary raid on a railway bridge leaves passenger trains stranded in Mariupol. After many months of idleness, the bridge was finally repaired.

Thumb sm
Ukraine: The Wait 05
Mariupol, Ukraine
By Benas Gerdziunas
16 Mar 2015

The strategic southern Ukrainian city of Mariupol continues to rely on its heavy-industries, even as shells randomly hit its eastern outskirts, or the near-constant fighting in Shyrokino - a village 30 kilometers east of Mariupol. Even as analysts and military intelligence predict a weekly separatist assault, it hasn’t happened in a year; the steel mills roll on.

Thumb sm
Ukraine: The Wait 10
Mariupol, Ukraine
By Benas Gerdziunas
14 Mar 2015

‘Psych’, a young volunteer fighter with one of Ukraine’s makeshift battalions ‘St. Mary’. After being reformed from the Shakhtorsk Battalion, the newly established battalion’s leaders are adopting a Christian Crusader façade.

“I’m an atheist,” he says, trying to conceal a pre-adolescent face under khaki balaclava.

Thumb sm
Ukraine: The Wait 20
Slovyansk, Donetsk Oblast
By Benas Gerdziunas
10 Mar 2015

The psychiatric hospital in Semyonovka, Donetsk Region, saw heavy fighting at the start of the War in Donbass. Both sides accuse the other for its destruction and using civilians trapped in the crossfire as cover. According to Human Rights Watch, patients and staff were evacuated on May 26, 2014 “to other facilities in Zhdanovka, Gorlovka, and Donetsk.”

All of these territories are now under control of the Pro-Russian separatists. A man from Semyonovka- who preferred to remain anonymous, said as he scourged through the remains of his home: “Last time I heard, they were taken to Russia after the evacuation.”

Thumb sm
Ukraine: The Wait 04
Kramatorsk, Donetsk Oblast
By Benas Gerdziunas
09 Mar 2015

Two of Tanya’s seven children huddle by a television in Kramatorsk refugee centre. Having escaped war in the neighbouring city of Gorlovka - currently under separatist control, the family breathes easily. Boredom prevails, as the children – along with the teenagers, move from one screen to another, trying to entertain themselves.

“My husband will join us here soon,” says the mother Tanya, “everything is perfect.” Meanwhile, her eldest daughter stares at the flickering screen in front.

Frame 0004
Desperate Living Conditions in Rebel-...
Jobar
By abdalmanamissa
26 Feb 2015

Jobar, Syria
February 26, 2015

The Damascus suburb of Jobar has been transformed into a devastated ghost town after more than more than two years of heavy battles between government and opposition fighters have failed to bring decisive victory to either side.

The very few civilians who remain in the neighborhood gather broken doors and furniture from wrecked homes to provide firewood.

SHOTLIST AND TRANSCRIPT

R-L pan of destroyed building
Traveling of road
Traveling of tunnel
Traveling of three children amid destruction
Various traveling of streets
Various of man chipping wood
Various/ traveling of roads
Wide of two women walking amide destroyed buildings
Various/ traveling of roads
Wide of destroyed building
Wide/ zoom in of two children carrying wood
Various of men sitting around a fire
Wide of fighters
Close-up of axe chopping wood
Wide/ zoom out of men carrying large bags

04:00 – 04:47

SOUNDBITE (Arabic, Man) Abu Ahmed, a fighter in Jobar Neighborhood

“As you can see, there are no civilians. There is no firewood nor any other means of heating. There is no electricity or diesel. All of this disappeared a long time ago. [NAT Sound: Heavy gunshot]. People come under shelling and shooting as they gather firewood. They take wood from wrecked houses and cut down trees – anything that can be used to provide heating because there is no diesel. People of all ages are doing what it takes to manage. They come all the way from over there. God, not us, is protecting them. They gather some firewood and then leave. The situation is extremely tragic. It is more difficult for civilians than it is for us.“

SOUNDBITE (Arabic, Man) Unnamed fighter in Jobar Neighborhood
04:48 – 05:36

“As you can see, dear brother, the situation is deplorable. People suffer from the lack of fuel and other basic necessities needed for heating and cooking. People are using wood from homes, which, as you can see, have been bombed, especially in Jobar. There are many destroyed homes. In general, Jobar has entirely been destroyed. People use any available wood from doors, window shutters and furniture. Everything is ruined and people go out to gather wood to provide heating for their children and prepare food. People undergo a lot of risk while doing this, under shelling from rockets and from warplanes.”

Wide of smoke rising as a result of bombing

Thumb sm
Women Fighters Ukraine 03
Schachtya, Ukraine
By Jonathan Alpeyrie
24 Feb 2015

February 15, 2015, Shchastya, Lugansk Oblast, Ukraine. Nurses Lesya and Dasha live and work inside the in the only working field hospital in the hotly contested town of Shchastya on the frontlines. A mere 16 KM away is the separatist held town of Luhansk. Pro-Russian separatists have shelled the town constantly since the ceasefire completly broke down in mid january. The two nurses treat the many wounded soldiers and locals who have been injured in the fighting. (Jonathan Alpeyrie)

Thumb sm
Women Fighters Ukraine 04
Schachtya, Ukraine
By Jonathan Alpeyrie
24 Feb 2015

February 15, 2015, Shchastya, Lugansk Oblast, Ukraine. Nurses Lesya and Dasha live and work inside the in the only working field hospital in the hotly contested town of Shchastya on the frontlines. A mere 16 KM away is the separatist held town of Luhansk. Pro-Russian separatists have shelled the town constantly since the ceasefire completly broke down in mid january. The two nurses treat the many wounded soldiers and locals who have been injured in the fighting. (Jonathan Alpeyrie)

Thumb sm
Women Fighters Ukraine 05
Schachtya, Ukraine
By Jonathan Alpeyrie
24 Feb 2015

February 16, 2015, Shchastya, Lugansk Oblast, Ukraine. Mama Tanya, a veteran from the Nagorno-Karabak war in the mid 90's is now fighting alongside Ukrainian forces by going to the front lines as soon as an injured soldier needs to be taken to the rear and receive treatment. (Jonathan Alpeyrie)

Thumb sm
Women Fighters Ukraine 06
Schachtya, Ukraine
By Jonathan Alpeyrie
24 Feb 2015

February 16, 2015, Shchastya, Lugansk Oblast, Ukraine. Mama Tanya, a veteran from the Nagorno-Karabak war in the mid 90's is now fighting alongside Ukrainian forces by going to the front lines as soon as an injured soldier needs to be taken to the rear and receive treatment. (Jonathan Alpeyrie)

Thumb sm
Women Fighters Ukraine 07
Schachtya, Ukraine
By Jonathan Alpeyrie
24 Feb 2015

February 16, 2015, Shchastya, Lugansk Oblast, Ukraine. Mama Tanya, a veteran from the Nagorno-Karabak war in the mid 90's is now fighting alongside Ukrainian forces by going to the front lines as soon as an injured soldier needs to be taken to the rear and receive treatment. (Jonathan Alpeyrie)

Thumb sm
Women Fighters Ukraine 08
Schachtya, Ukraine
By Jonathan Alpeyrie
24 Feb 2015

February 16, 2015, Shchastya, Lugansk Oblast, Ukraine. Mama Tanya, a veteran from the Nagorno-Karabak war in the mid 90's is now fighting alongside Ukrainian forces by going to the front lines as soon as an injured soldier needs to be taken to the rear and receive treatment. (Jonathan Alpeyrie)

Thumb sm
Women Fighters Ukraine 09
Schachtya, Ukraine
By Jonathan Alpeyrie
24 Feb 2015

February 16, 2015, Shchastya, Lugansk Oblast, Ukraine. Mama Tanya, a veteran from the Nagorno-Karabak war in the mid 90's is now fighting alongside Ukrainian forces by going to the front lines as soon as an injured soldier needs to be taken to the rear and receive treatment. (Jonathan Alpeyrie)

Thumb sm
Women Fighters Ukraine 10
Schachtya, Ukraine
By Jonathan Alpeyrie
24 Feb 2015

February 16, 2015, Shchastya, Lugansk Oblast, Ukraine. Vitaminka has left boyfriend and family to join in the Aydar volunteer batallion and fight against the Russian supported separatist forces. She now fights on the front lines alongside men. (Jonathan Alpeyrie)

Thumb sm
Women Fighters Ukraine 11
Schachtya, Ukraine
By Jonathan Alpeyrie
24 Feb 2015

February 16, 2015, Shchastya, Lugansk Oblast, Ukraine. Vitaminka has left boyfriend and family to join in the Aydar volunteer batallion and fight against the Russian supported separatist forces. She now fights on the front lines alongside men. (Jonathan Alpeyrie)

Thumb sm
Women Fighters Ukraine 12
Schachtya, Ukraine
By Jonathan Alpeyrie
24 Feb 2015

February 16, 2015, Shchastya, Lugansk Oblast, Ukraine. Vitaminka has left boyfriend and family to join in the Aydar volunteer batallion and fight against the Russian supported separatist forces. She now fights on the front lines alongside men. (Jonathan Alpeyrie)

Thumb sm
Women Fighters Ukraine 13
Schachtya, Ukraine
By Jonathan Alpeyrie
24 Feb 2015

February 16, 2015, Shchastya, Lugansk Oblast, Ukraine. Vitaminka has left boyfriend and family to join in the Aydar volunteer batallion and fight against the Russian supported separatist forces. She now fights on the front lines alongside men. (Jonathan Alpeyrie)

Thumb sm
Women Fighters Ukraine 14
Schachtya, Ukraine
By Jonathan Alpeyrie
24 Feb 2015

February 16, 2015, Shchastya, Lugansk Oblast, Ukraine. Vitaminka has left boyfriend and family to join in the Aydar volunteer batallion and fight against the Russian supported separatist forces. She now fights on the front lines alongside men. (Jonathan Alpeyrie)

Thumb sm
Women Fighters Ukraine 15
Schachtya, Ukraine
By Jonathan Alpeyrie
24 Feb 2015

February 16, 2015, Shchastya, Lugansk Oblast, Ukraine. Vitaminka has left boyfriend and family to join in the Aydar volunteer batallion and fight against the Russian supported separatist forces. She now fights on the front lines alongside men. (Jonathan Alpeyrie)

Thumb sm
Women Fighters Ukraine 16
Schachtya, Ukraine
By Jonathan Alpeyrie
24 Feb 2015

February 16, 2015, Shchastya, Lugansk Oblast, Ukraine. Anaconda also left family and friends to join up and fight in the war against the pro-Russian separatists. She enjoys her time at the front risking her life alongside the men from the battalion. (Jonathan Alpeyrie)