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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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Idomeni Refugee Camp 13
Idomeni
By Francesco Pistilli
20 Apr 2016

Bilal,13, from Syria, is a self-described geek. He wants to study and learn English and German, but he needs new books and wants to reach Germany as soon as possible to go to school and learn more about the world. He sits on an abandoned car while translating verbs from Arabic to English.

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Refugees in Train Station 01
Izmir
By Irakli Dzneladze
24 Oct 2015

Syrian refugees take shelter in Izmir's Basmane train station in Turkey, while they wait for an opportunity to leave for Europe.

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Refugees in Train Station 02
Izmir
By Irakli Dzneladze
24 Oct 2015

Syrian refugees take shelter in Izmir's Basmane train station in Turkey, while they wait for an opportunity to leave for Europe.

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Refugees in Train Station 03
Izmir
By Irakli Dzneladze
24 Oct 2015

Syrian refugees take shelter in Izmir's Basmane train station in Turkey, while they wait for an opportunity to leave for Europe.

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Refugees in Train Station 04
Izmir
By Irakli Dzneladze
24 Oct 2015

Syrian refugees take shelter in Izmir's Basmane train station in Turkey, while they wait for an opportunity to leave for Europe.

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Refugees in Train Station 05
Izmir
By Irakli Dzneladze
24 Oct 2015

Syrian refugees take shelter in Izmir's Basmane train station in Turkey, while they wait for an opportunity to leave for Europe.

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Refugees in Train Station 06
Izmir
By Irakli Dzneladze
24 Oct 2015

Syrian refugees take shelter in Izmir's Basmane train station in Turkey, while they wait for an opportunity to leave for Europe.

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Life in the Largest Syrian Refugee Ca...
Erbil
By Younes Mohammad
30 Mar 2015

March 30, 2015

Erbil, Iraqi Kurdistan



Syrian refugees fled their country and arrived in Iraqi Kurdistan looking for assistance and a safe place to settle after the heavy clashes between the YPG and Al-Nusra front that took place in Rojava. The Kawrgosk refugee camp is currently the largest in Iraq but many of the refugees prefer to live on the outskirts of the city of Erbil. Iraq has recorded a total of 19, 844 Syrian refugees in the camps and aid is distributed to them by the UN, NGOs, and local and national bodies.

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Inside Look: Syrian Refugees Imprison...
Alexandria, Egypt
By hoda zakaria
24 Mar 2015

March 22, 2015
Alexandria, Egypt

A group of Syrian refugees who attempted to smuggle themselves illegally by what they call the "boats of death" from Turkey to Italy have been detained by Egyptian police and sent to Karmouz prison in Alexandria. The refugees who fled from the civil war in Syria, set off from the Turkish port town of Mersin on September 23, 2014. The boat's engine stopped in Egyptian waters leaving them adrift. They spent 7 days floating in the sea with little food or water before they were picked up by the Egyptian coast guard on September 30, 2014, and brought back to Alexandria.

These photos and videos were taken in the Alexandrian prison on March 22, 2015. They show how the refugees are living their daily lives inside the prison where the prison warden has allowed them to have laptops and mobile phones. According to the refugees who declined to give their names, there are 74 Syrians and Syrian-Palestinians who are being detained in this prison, including 15 children and 8 women. They were all victims of human trafficking. 

In the videos two men describe the ordeal of the refugees and their desperation. One of the men asked that his face be obscured.

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Syrian Refugee Imprisoned in Egypt
Alexandria, Egypt
By hoda zakaria
22 Mar 2015

A group of Syrian refugees who attempted to smuggle themselves illegally by what they call the "boats of death" from Turkey to Italy have been detained by Egyptian police and sent to Karmouz prison in Alexandria. The refugees who fled from the civil war in Syria, set off from the Turkish port town of Mersin on September 23, 2014. The boat's engine stopped in Egyptian waters leaving them adrift. They spent 7 days floating in the sea with little food or water before they were picked up by the Egyptian coast guard on September 30, 2014, and brought back to Alexandria.

These photos and videos were taken in the Alexandrian prison on March 22, 2015. They show how the refugees are living their daily lives inside the prison where the prison warden has allowed them to have laptops and mobile phones. According to the refugees who declined to give their names, there are 74 Syrians and Syrian-Palestinians who are being detained in this prison, including 15 children and 8 women. They were all victims of human trafficking.

In the videos two men describe the ordeal of the refugees and their desperation. One of the men asked that his face be obscured.

Transcription:

SOUNDBITE (Arabic, Man)
1min 35 sec
“We left Syria around a year ago. After several attempts, we after traveling reached Egypt in the sea for seven days. We almost died in the middle of the sea because the boat broke down. We suffered a lot. We lost drinking water, luggage and food. A baby who was with us on the boat died. The Egyptian navy arrested us on September 30, 2014. Until this day, we have been detained in Karmouz prison. We were transferred to different prisoners. There is not any country that will receive us because we do not have documents. The only country that would receive us is Syria. However, we cannot return to Syria. All human rights organizations have talked with us, but they have given us false promises. We do not have any hope. I also have a personal suffering. I lost my wife, son and brother in another journey, during which the boat drowned. My psychological situation is very bad. We are suffering a lot.
We hope that you… we urge all the officials in Egypt or any other country as well as the [United Nations] to help us to travel to Europe, which was our initial destination.”

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Syrian Refugees Imprisoned in Egypt 1
Alexandria, Egypt
By hoda zakaria
22 Mar 2015

A Syrian refugee washes his plate in his cell in the Karmouz prison, Alexandria

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Syrian Refugees Imprisoned in Egypt 3
Alexandria, Egypt
By hoda zakaria
22 Mar 2015

A Syrian refugee washes his plate in the Karmouz prison, Alexandria.

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Syrian Refugees Imprisoned in Egypt 4
Alexandria, Egypt
By hoda zakaria
22 Mar 2015

A Syrian refugee hangs out his washing in his cell in the Karmouz prison.

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Syrian Refugees Imprisoned in Egypt 5
Alexandria, Egypt
By hoda zakaria
22 Mar 2015

A Syrian refugee prepares a meal inside the Karmouz prison.

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Syrian Refugees Imprisoned in Egypt 6
Alexandria, Egypt
By hoda zakaria
22 Mar 2015

One Syrian refugee stands on another's shoulders to fix the light in their cell.

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Syrian Refugees Imprisoned in Egypt 8
Alexandria, Egypt
By hoda zakaria
22 Mar 2015

A Syrian child sleeps in a cell inside the Karmouz prison.

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Syrian Refugees Imprisoned in Egypt 11
Alexandria, Egypt
By hoda zakaria
22 Mar 2015

A Syrian refugee prepares a meal inside his cell in the Karmouz prison.

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Syrian Refugees Imprisoned in Egypt 12
Alexandria, Egypt
By hoda zakaria
22 Mar 2015

The communal cell of the detained Syrian refugees. The prison warden has allowed them access to mobile phones and laptops.

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Syrian Refugee Imprisoned in Egypt
Alexandria, Egypt
By hoda zakaria
22 Mar 2015

A group of Syrian refugees who attempted to smuggle themselves illegally by what they call the "boats of death" from Turkey to Italy have been detained by Egyptian police and sent to Karmouz prison in Alexandria. The refugees who fled from the civil war in Syria, set off from the Turkish port town of Mersin on September 23, 2014. The boat's engine stopped in Egyptian waters leaving them adrift. They spent 7 days floating in the sea with little food or water before they were picked up by the Egyptian coast guard on September 30, 2014, and brought back to Alexandria.

These photos and videos were taken in the Alexandrian prison on March 22, 2015. They show how the refugees are living their daily lives inside the prison where the prison warden has allowed them to have laptops and mobile phones. According to the refugees who declined to give their names, there are 74 Syrians and Syrian-Palestinians who are being detained in this prison, including 15 children and 8 women. They were all victims of human trafficking.

In the videos two men describe the ordeal of the refugees and their desperation. One of the men asked that his face be obscured.

Transcription:

SOUNDBITE (Arabic, Man) Unnamed Syrian held in Karmouz Turkish prison
55 sec.
“Peace be upon you. Our story started when we left Syria. We fled war and destruction, in search of decent life. We headed to the Turkish city of Mersin, where we stayed for a few months waiting to travel to the Italian shores. We sailed in the Mediterranean in the so-called ‘boats of death.’ After 10 days, we were forced under the threat of arms to disembark in an Egyptian island near Alexandria called Nelson Island. We have been detained in Karmouz prison for nearly five months. Our problem cannot be solved. As we suffer from this catastrophe, we do not find any hope. We urge all international organizations and the [United Nations] human rights commission to find a solution for us and get us out of this deadlock.”

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Civilians from Rebel-held Ghouta Flee...
Qudssaya,Syria
By AmmarParis
23 Feb 2015

Citizens from rebel-held Eastern Ghouta, a suburb east of Damascus, are evacuated from various villages (mainly Douma, Jobar, Jesreen and Harasta) and relocated to a refugee camp in government-controlled Dhahiyet Qudsayyah, west of Damascus, on 22 February. In the shelter, which also houses a school, they are provided with food, clothes and other basic necessities.

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Physiotherapy Clinic Heals Children a...
Latakia
By Hashem
15 Feb 2015

Latakia, Syria

February 15, 2015

AT THEIR REQUEST THE FACES OF THE DOCTORS AND THERAPISTS INTERVIEWED ARE NOT SHOWN FOR REASONS OF PERSONAL SAFETY AND SECURITY.

At the Flooka Physical Therapy Center in rural Latakia province, Syria, Dr. Khaled treats all manner of patients, from Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters to children with disabilities. In his small clinic, which sees 25-30 patients a day, Dr. Khaled and his devoted staff use a combination of personal care and up-to-date technology (infrared, radiotherapy) to help residents from near and far recover from war-related injuries and other ailments. A largely Alawite region known for being the birthplace of the Assad family and a stronghold of the regime, parts of rural Latakia have nonetheless fallen under control of the rebels.

TRANSCRIPT

Dr. Mohamad Ajouz
(Man, Arabic) (01:40-02:54)

Our patient was injured by shrapnel two years ago, and came to the center for physical therapy about a year ago because of serious injury to his sciatic nerve. After a year of physical therapy, we did not get desirable results because his injury was too severe. Now, after consulting with an orthopaedic surgeon, he was advised to have surgery. Now we're getting him ready for surgery, preparing the muscles, so that when the surgery is done he can return and we can continue the physical therapy, and he will hopefully be healed.

Abu Mohamad, FSA fighter:
(Man, Arabic) (03:48-04:30)

I sprained my ankle and suffered from ligament rupture. I was not able to walk comfortably, so I came here to the physical therapy center and had many sessions, which are definitely helping. The center provides excellent care, and the workers are doing their best to help us. They spared us a trip to Turkey that we might have been forced to take, but the problem is that this is the only physical treatment center here and there is a lot of pressure, a huge number of people come here, and sometimes we have to wait until they finish treating other injuries before getting a turn.

Abu Hussein
(Man, Arabic) (07:13-07:33)

At an early point, we discovered something was wrong with her and took her to Turkey, Antakya and, from there, were transferred to Adana, where they ran some tests and told us that she suffers from brain malformation and needs physical treatment. So we brought her here to the "Floka al-Hurreya" physical therapy center to get treatment.

Dr. Khaled:
(Man, Arabic) (08:59-10:22)

We are now in the "Floka al-Hurreya" physical therapy center. The center has been open for a while and is operating smoothly. It receives about 25-30 patients a day. We have some machines and equipment to help treat patients injured in war; most people we treat have been injured in the war. We have machines to support the hips, infrared machines, a radiotherapy machine and machines to treat nerves; we have steps, a treadmill and many other machines.

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Censored Video From ISIS-Controlled D...
Deir-al-Zor
By abd alkareem
15 Feb 2015

Deir al-Zor, Syria

February 15, 2015

This video was recorded in the ISIS-controlled city of Deir al-Zor, in eastern Syria with the approval ISIS. The cameraman was escorted by a member of the group during the recording and the video was subjected to review and censorship by ISIS.
The appearance of this video on the Transterra Media website does not in anyway constitute an endorsement by Transterra Media of ISIS or any claims or statements made in this video.

The video shows detainees held by the ISIS police force, known as Al-Hisba. The detainees are believed to have been arrested for smoking or not praying, which are considered crimes according to ISIS’ interpretation of Islamic Sharia law. The video offers an insight of the moral disciplining and law enforcement measures practiced by ISIS.
In addition the video shows a nighttime public gathering and scenes of Deir al-Zor streets, where ISIS banners and propaganda billboards are conspicuous.
The video also shows ISIS fighters firing weapons in what is believed to be a battle against Syrian Army forces in the Huweijat Saqe area near Deir al

SHOTLIST and TRANSCRIPT

Zoom out of “reconciliation hall” door/ L-R pan inside police station.

Wide of ISIS security members and civilians inside police station.

Medium of poster declaring “The 10 practices that nullify faith in Islam.” Zoom out of detainees sitting under the poster/ R-L pan of detainees seemingly reading the Quran.

Various of preacher talking to detainees NAT Sound (Arabic, Man), Unnamed ISIS Preacher
01:04 – 01:33
“[Citing a saying by the Prophet Mohammad] That which differentiates us from them [unbelievers] is our performance of prayer. He who abandons it becomes a unbeliever. Imam Ahmad, a man for whose existence we thank God, said: ‘He who abandons prayers deliberately and out of laziness is a unbeliever.’ This is not a simple matter. It is a matter of belief or disbelief, of going to paradise or hell.”

Wide of man calling for praying for prayer as detainees prepare to start praying.

SOUNDBITE (ARABIC, Man) Unnamed detainee
01:51 – 02:01
“I was arrested for smoking. I have been here for two hours. There is no problem. All of this is in our interest.”

SOUNDBITE (ARABIC, Man) Unnamed detainee
02:02 – 02:49
- You were inside the police station, right? - Yes. - How long have were you arrested for? - Three or four days. - What was your charge? - I was accused of smoking.
- How were you treated inside? - The treatment is in accordance with Islam. - Did you see anything that was not good? - No, no. - Did anyone force to do anything? - No, everything was according to God’s Sharia. - Did you see anyone at the police station who being treated better than you were? - No, no. Everybody was treated the same way. There was no difference among people. - No you have been released by the police. Will you be arrested again? - No, no. I will commit this sin again.

Wide of released detainee talking to ISIS security officers.

Traveling shot of released detainee walking with security officer out of police station.

Various shots of children and adults watching ISIS propaganda film featuring battles in a public square.

Various shots of crowd waving ISIS flags. NAT Sound (Arabic) Crowd repeat after man speaking over loudspeaker (05:02 - 5:17): “The prophet is our leader; the Quran is our constitution; the State of the Caliphate is our state.”

Close-up/zoom out propaganda CDs with the title “The evidence that a woman’s face should be covered” being handed out to crowd of young men.

Moving shot of ISIS fighter handing out chocolate to children.

Wide/zoom out of street lined with ISIS flags.

Traveling of road sign at the entrance of Deir al-Zor and street. NAT Sound (Arabic): ISIS anthem/ billboard promoting hijab (6:43)

Various shots of ISIS flags hung on street light poles (07:15). Wide of billboard discouraging smoking. The right-hand side of the billboard bears what appears to be the image of miswak, a plant the prophet recommended for good breath in the Quranic verse, “He alloweth unto them things clean.” The second half of the billboard features what appears to be a cigarette stub, as well as the Quranic verse “And He forbiddeth unto them things impure.” The billboard is signed: “The Islamic State, Province of the Good,” the name given to Deir al-Zor by ISIS.

Various of ISIS flags hung on street light poles

Medium/zoom out of billboard: “There shall be a caliphate according to the Prophet’s path,” signed by the Islamic State.

Close-up/ zoom out of ISIS flags hung on street light poles.

Tilt down on ISIS flags hung on street light poles/zoom in on billboard: “There shall be a caliphate according to the Prophet’s path,” signed by the Islamic State.

Traveling of street; billboard reads: “There shall be caliphate according to the Prophet’s path”

Various of women wearing the niqab walking in market.

L-R pan of shops/ lettering on the wall reads: “O God, bring your victory soon.”

Wide of women Various of women wearing the niqab walking in market

Moving shot of ISIS fighters in a speed boat moving in the Euphrates NAT Sound (Arabic) fighter: "The State of Islam shall remain despite the awakenings and the Alawites.”

Various of fighters firing a heavy machine gun in an exchange of fire NAT Sound (Arabic) Unseen man: (12:22 – 12:37) “God is great! A mujahid returns the fire at regime troops at Huweijat Saqer. (13:15 – 13:17) The state of Islam shall remain.”

13:26: Nat SOUND fighters, “The state of Islam shall remain.”

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Syria's Orphans Stuck in Limbo
Reyhanli
By Isabel Hunter
03 Feb 2015

Reyhanli, Turkey

February 3, 2015

As Turkey’s urban refugee population skyrockets, keeping track of the most vulnerable children is becoming impossible and the risk of sexual and work exploitation is increasing. Turkey's traditionally effective orphan care system is overwhelmed and cannot cope with the burden. In such cases, adoption is often a part of the solution. However, adoption remains extremely rare for both cultural reasons and a lack of infrastructure to manage safe and secure adoptions.

Syrian NGO Maram started an orphanage to help protect some of these children. Ruba Shalish, 11, arrived to the orphanage two weeks ago. She had lived with her grandfather, 75-year-old Nadir, in his small garage-house for one year after losing both of her parents in Syria. She is happy at the orphanage and interacting very well with her friends, as shown by her confident performance in a show organized by the orphanage management. While the orphanage can take 75 children, founder Yakzan Shishakly refuses to allow them to be adopted, despite frequent inquiries, fearing that the unregulated adoption system could easily lead to human trafficking. For many, the most logical solution to the crisis is to expand the existing orphanage infrastructure. However, alleviating the growing problem remains a distant reality.

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The Syrian Teenager Who "Chose" War O...
Morek, Hama
By TTM Contributor 9
30 Jan 2015

Morek, Hama, Syria

January 30, 2015

Fourteen-year-old Mohammad Khodr al-Hajji left school more than a year ago to fight against the forces of President Bashar al-Assad. Mohammad joined the opposition battalion formed by his father. He receives regular military training and has been positioned on the frontline outside the town of Morek near Hama, in an area called al-Sayyad. Opposition fighters took this area from the Syrian government’s forces fourth months ago. In a year or two, Mohammad hopes to actively engage in battles.

Mohammad’s case is not unique. Many children have been drawn into the Syrian conflict as it nears its fourth year. According to a Human Rights Watch report, non-state militias of different affiliations have recruited dozens of teenagers and given them perilous military tasks.

Khodr, Mohammad's father, says that even though his son is young, he might not be safer at home because he could die in an airstrike.

SHOTLIST AND TRANSCRIPT

Various of Mohammad and other fighters resting in a cave

Close-up of Mohammad’s face
Close-ups of Mohammad’s hand

Various of Mohammad and other fighters inside a cave watching battle videos
Various of Mohammad lying down on a mattress inside a cave Wide of Mohammad helping his father wear military vest
Various of Mohammad and other fighters waling in a field
Medium of Mohammad loading his rifle
Various of Mohammad and other fighters inspecting anti-aircraft machinegun
Various of Mohammad and other fighters inspecting military positions
Various of Mohammad walking
Various of Mohammad loading his weapon
Wide of Mohammad holding his rifle inside a trench
Various of Mohammad with other fighters practice shooting SOUNDBITE (Arabic, Boy) Mohammad al-Hajji
07:39- 11:31
“I am Mohammad, the son of Khodr al-Hajji. We are positioned on al-Sayyad frontline in Morek. God willing, we shall stay steadfast. We have gone to war for the sake of God. God willing, we shall remain steadfast. I was at school and I was watching TV. I saw destruction and children. I went for the quest of freedom, against Assad’s infidel regime.
I saw my father and brothers fighting against the Assad regime. I decided to practice jihad with them. I have been here for a short while, but my father taught me how to use weapons – how to disassemble and reassemble a rifle and shoot, thanks be to God.
I saw people going out in demonstrations for the sake of God. I saw my father and brothers participating in battles. I said to my father that I wanted to learn how to use weapons. He said: “Do not learn this. You should stay away from this business.” I said: “Let me learn.”
Later on, he taught me how to use rifles. He first taught me to dissemble and reassemble the rifle and he then he let me shoot. I started to go with him to battles.
I was with my friends and I saw that they all participated in jihad, and I wanted to be like them.
At first, I used to like this but I do like anything after the trouble.
Interviewer: Why?
Because of these circumstances. We are scared of warplanes because they bomb schools. We stopped going to school. I stopped going to school a year ago. I am in the eighth grade. Warplanes bombed the school and we stopped going there.
Interviewer: When was that?
About a year or more. Only a child was injured. He was injured at school.
I am positioned on al-Sayyad hill, the Morek frontline. I am learning how to shoot if the enemy comes.
In the village, we saw the bodies of people killed by the army at a checkpoint. Good God, they were all disfigured. I was very scared, but after I saw this I stopped caring about anything.
When I first grabbed the rifle I felt something very great. It was something very great. We have taken arms for the sake of freedom and God almighty.
There is no work. People have stopped working. We want to work but there is nothing to do. I kept participating in the revolution.
Why is he [Bashar al-Assad] fighting against us? Why? It is his fault.

Interview: Why?
He is fighting against us. They know that we are Muslims and they can see what is happening to the people, yet he is fighting against us. This is his fault. He is a Muslim and so are we, yet he is fighting against us. We consider him a disbeliever. He is killing Muslims. He is killing people and destroying homes.”

Various/ Medium of Mohammad. NAT Sound: (Arabic) Mohammad and another fighter argue with a local man about the need not to light a fire in order to keep the area safe from airstrikes.

SOUNDBITE (Arabic, Boy) Mohammad al-Hajji, Child Fighter
12:30 – 14:15
The trigger. Shooting. This is something great. Shooting at the enemy is quite something. I stay on guard. If the army advances, we fight against it.
Both; I listen to my father and I go to battles. I am still young and I am learning. In a year or two, I will start participating in battles, God willing.
Interviewer: Suppose that you were injured in a battle. What would you do? Suppose you were shot in the leg, God forbid. What would you do? Your father is far from you.
What would I do? I would keep resisting until I die.
Interviewer: If you were hit in the leg, you have this walkie-talkie in your pocket and this rifle, and you are lying down on the ground and cannot walk. What would you do?
I would call my father on the walkie-talkie in order to cover me and move me out. If I was hit in a battle, I would call my father on the walkie-talkie. The men will cover me and they will move me out.
If my injury was lethal I would be scared, but what could I do? My father would take me to hospital and the doctor would treat me. God willing, I will remain steadfast.”
Various of Mohammad inside a trench
Various of Mohammad assembling and loading his weapon Various of Mohammad aiming his weapon
Close-ups of Mohammad’s hands holding a rifle
Various of Khodr al-Hajji, Mohammad’s father, outdoor
Close-ups of Khodr al-Hajji’s hands and face
Medium of Khodr al-Hajji talking to fighters of his group inside a cave
NAT Sound (Arabic) (15:29) Over the walkie-Talkie: Mohammad Abu al-Lays, look at the fields, look at the vehicles. Where are you? Mohammad Abu al-Lays do you hear me? Where are you? (16:24) Tell us more, how long have you been here? What are your plans for the future? (16:33) (16:34) Day 57. Everybody is firing at us. We were staying at a house… (16:44) Mohammad was with you? - No, Mohammad was not with us yet, but the older one Ahmad was. He was 17 - 18 years old. He was born in 1996 (16:58). (16:59) How many children do you have? - I have 10, five girls and five boys. The boys are Mohammad, Ahmad, Bachir, Nazeer (17:05)

SOUNDBITE (Arabic, Man) Khodr al-Hajji, Mohammad’s Father, Head of opposition armed group
(17:43)

Khodr Ahmad al-Hajji from Morek, from Idlib province, the village of Maarat Dibsah. When we first started engaged in the revolution, it was peaceful. The regime started to use violence against us and fire at us while we were demonstrating. You would be marching in a demonstration clapping your hands when suddenly the regime’s men start to fire at you, and people start to fall around you. Things took a new turn. We lost many martyrs.
It was then that people realized that we needed to carry arms to protect ourselves from these tyrants. The regime used to give orders to open fire on those people, and many of them became martyrs.
Whoever did not have money borrowed money… we are poor people. We had to borrow money to buy a rifle and bullets. This is how it started.
Every now and then we used to see an army vehicle. At first, we used to have pity on the Syrian army, saying that they were our children and we did not fire at them.
But at a certain point, the Syrian army itself helped Bashar al-Assad remain in his post. This was four years ago.

Till now, some members are defecting from the army but in small numbers.
If entire divisions and brigades defected, we would not have reached this point.
The members that did not defect from the army allowed Bashar al-Assad to remain in power until today. He also received foreign support from Satan’s party [Hezbollah] of Lebanon, from Iran, all the countries are supporting him. This really affected people, but we remained in our revolution. We started firing at the army and take its positions. We shall continue until the last moment (20:00)
(20:03) My son Ahmad, God bless you and your children, has been fighting with me for almost for two years, two-and-a-half years. I gave him guns and he started to fight with me. My younger son Mohammad kept saying, “Father I want to go with you; Father I want to go with you.” I brought him along, too. It was not a very long time ago. I taught him at first how to dissemble and reassemble a rifle, and then I taught him how to shoot. After that, he started to come with me to the front positions. This is as far as Mohammad is concerned. All is done for God’s sake. If God wills, we will stay on this path until the last drop of blood. We will not go back, for the sake martyrs we lost. We will continue if God wills, and the younger might join, too. If [the war] is going to last longer, the younger people will join.
My brothers, my cousins and I are continuing with this, God willing. I do not care anymore about education because we are losing so much important as loosing blood. Education is nothing when compared to blood. Education is necessary and we should learn and teach our children but we got to a point where the regime destroyed schools with explosive barrels. You will find only one safe school in the entire village; the other ones are completely destroyed (21:50)

(21:51) Mohammad is brave, with the will of God. I want him to continue in this revolution given our circumstances, God willing. (21:59) (22:00) For me, if Mohammad wanted to study, he would not have chosen to carry weapons and fight. I do not have any problem if he wished to remain in school. But, when he saw me fighting along with his brother, he insisted on joining me, so I brought him along. I hope I did not choose a wrong path for him. If he becomes a martyr, it would be for God’s sake, he would be lucky; God giveth, God taketh. I am convinced with what I am saying, this is not a compliment (22:35) (22:36) I am proud of him. He behaves like a man. Despite his young age, he acts like a man, thanks be to God. Some people told me that he is too young to join the war, but they were few. Others told me it is good that he started training at a young age, since the war might last for many years; the whole world is against Syria, especially against the Muslim, Sunni Syrian people. The whole world is against us. All nations are fighting like dogs against us.” (23:20)

(23:21) As for his mother, she did not have any problem at all. When she knew this is what he desired, she did not oppose him. - How does she feel when you both leave together for war? - Her heart aches, but thanks be to God she accepts this. We are believers. We believe in God almighty and in fate. What God has written shall happen. Let us suppose Mohammad or his brothers are at home now and warplanes bomb the house with barrels. If his days are over, he will die at home.”

Wide of fighters looking at a helicopter in the sky
Wide of fighters preparing lunch
Various of fighters eating
Medium of Mohammad opening a pack of dates
Various of fighters praying

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Mohammad, a Syrian Teenager Who "Chos...
Morek, Hama
By TTM Contributor 9
30 Jan 2015

Morek, Hama, Syria

January 30, 2015

Fourteen-year-old Mohammad Khodr al-Hajji left school more than a year ago to fight against the forces of President Bashar al-Assad. Mohammad joined the opposition battalion formed by his father. He receives regular military training and has been positioned on the frontline outside the town of Morek near Hama, in an area called al-Sayyad. Opposition fighters took this area from the Syrian government’s forces fourth months ago. In a year or two, Mohammad hopes to actively engage in battles.

Mohammad’s case is not unique. Many children have been drawn into the Syrian conflict as it nears its fourth year. According to a Human Rights Watch report, non-state militias of different affiliations have recruited dozens of teenagers and given them perilous military tasks.

Khodr, Mohammad's father, says that even though his son is young, he might not be safer at home because he could die in an airstrike.

SHOTLIST AND TRANSCRIPT

Various of fighters resting inside a cave
Close-up of Mohammad al-Hajji’s face
Close-up of Mohammad al-Hajji’s hand and Kalashnikov rifle
Wide of Mohammad al-Hajji walking ,carrying a Kalashnikov rifle

SOUNDBITE (Arabic, Boy) Mohammad Khodr al-Hajji, Syrian Child Fighter
00:11 – 00:24

“I am Mohammad, the son of Khodr. I was at school and I was watching TV. I saw destruction and children. I went for the quest of freedom, against Assad’s infidel regime.” Wide of Mohammad walking with other fighters.
Wide of Mohammad with other fighters in a trench shooting.

SOUNDBITE (Arabic, Boy) Mohammad Khodr al-Hajji, Syrian Child Fighter

00:33 – 00:48
“I have been here for a short while, but my father taught me how to use weapons and to shoot, thanks be to God. I was with my friends and I saw that they all participated in Jihad, and I wanted to be like them.
I have not been in school for many years. I was in the eighth grade. I stopped going to school.
There was an air raid. A warplane hit the school and we stopped going there.
When I first grabbed the rifle I felt something very great.
There is no work. People have stopped working. We want to work but there is nothing to do.
I kept participating in the revolution. I will keep resisting until I die.
I am still young and I am learning. In a year or two, I will start participating in battles, God willing.”

Close-up of Mohammad cleaning rifle.
Wide of Mohammad in trench with other fighters.
Various of Khodr al-Hajji, Mohammad’s father , talking on walkie-talkie Medium of Khodr al-Hajji inside cave with other fighters

SOUNDBITE (Arabic, Man) Khodr al-Hajji, Mohammad’s Father, Head of opposition armed group

01:33 – 01:59
"He [Mohammad] saw that his brother and I were involved [in the revolution]. He began to insist to accompany me, so I took him with me. His brother and I trained him to use a rifle. I showed him how to disassemble and reassemble the rifle. Then he wanted to shoot, so I showed how.
We shall carry on, God willing. Someone younger might also participate [in the fighting]. If this continues for longer, God willing, the younger people will participate.”

Wide of Mohammad opening a box of dates with a knife

SOUNDBITE (Arabic, Man) Khodr al-Hajji, Mohammad’s Father, Head of opposition armed group

02:08 – 02:28
“I do not care about education because we are losing so much blood. If he is martyred, it will be for God’s sake. He would be lucky. God giveth, God taketh. My son Mohammad or his brothers might be at home and suffer a strike by warplanes, which are dropping explosive barrels. If his days are over, he will die at home.”

Various of Mohammad and other fighters praying behind Khodr al-Hajji.
Various of Mohammad and other fighters walking

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Syrian children.
Idleb -Jisr al shughur
By ehab
27 Sep 2014

A young syrian girl and a little boy hiding behind her.

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Orphaned Brothers Struggle to Survive...
Damascus
By Rame ALsayaed
13 Aug 2014

al-Hajar al-Aswad, Damascus
November, 2014

Youssef, 8 years old
Ahmed 12 years old
Um Farah, Aunt

Youssef and Ahmed are two young orphans who are struggling to survive with their two sisters. After losing their father and mother a couple of years ago, the children now struggle to survive in the besieged Damascus neighborhood of al-Hajar al-Aswad.

The children's father was killed during clashes with the Syrian army in their native Deir Ez Zour. Shortly after their father's death, the situation in Deir Ez Zour became too violent and Um Youssef escaped with the children to al-Hajar al-Aswad, a neighborhood in southern Damascus.

In the beginning of 2012, when the mother was standing in line to get some bread for her children, the Syrian government bombed the bakery and Um Youssef was severely injured. Due to the siege imposed on the area by the government, she was not able to get proper treatment for her wounds and she died shortly after. Youssef, Ahmed, and their two sisters became orphans.

After losing their mother, the children's aunt, Um Farah started looking after them. However, their lives did not get easier as Um Farah's ability to care for the children was limited as she was already poor herself and had her own children to look after. Regardless of the challenges, Um Farah did not give up on Youssef and his siblings, and tried to provide for them. However, the siege and resulting poverty forced Youssef and Ahmed to begin providing for themselves.

Now, Youssef and Ahmed scour the streets of al-Hajar al-Aswad for food and anything that they can use to survive.

A typical day for Ahmed and Youssef begins early when they go searching for drinkable water. After their search for water, they head to school in a makeshift classroom that was established by volunteers in al-Hajar al-Aswad. For the boys, school is considered they only good thing in their lives during the war. However, Youssef usually leaves in the middle class to go reserve a place in the line for the public kitchen. Once he reserves his spot he heads back to school.

After school is over, Youssef returns to the kitchen to pick up the food. They then take the food home to have a meal with the rest of the family.
After taking a short rest, they go out searching for firewood, which is the only material available under siege that can be used for cooking and heating. After an exhausting day they go to sleep.

Youssef and Ahmed can no longer remember cartoon shows; they have not watched any since the electricity was cut off two years ago. The only thing they care about is helping their aunt provide food and other needs for the family.

Youssef and Ahmed are examples of many Syrian orphans who struggle to survive.

The Syrian government imposed a siege on al-Hajar al-Aswad at the end of 2012 and the siege has thus far resulted in the death nearly 70 people from starvation and dehydration. The situation is getting worse after the regime increased the siege by cutting off the water in al-Hajar al-Aswad.
TRANSCRIPT:

Interviewer:
Ho do you spend your day Youssef?

Youssef:
We wake my aunt up to tell her that we are going to get water, so she would not worry about us. After we are done, we go to school, and when it is time to go to the kitchen, we take permission from the teacher and leave to go put the buckets and claim our place in line. Then we go back to school and after we are done we go to the kitchen, get the food, and come back home.

Interviewer:
Youssef what do you wish for?

Youssef:
To have my mother and father alive. When I see children with their parents, I feel sad, I see them with their parents, playing and joking, but I cannot do that because my parents are dead and I have nobody but my aunt.

Interviewer:
Youssef what do you want to be when you grow older?

Youssef:
I want to become an FSA fighter

Interviewer:
Why do you want to become and FSA fighter?

Youssef:
I want vengeance from the people who killed my mother and father.

Interviewer:
Ahmed, what do you wish to become when you grow older?

Ahmed:
I want to become a doctor because when my mother was injured, there were no doctors to treat her. That is why I want to become a doctor, so I can treat the ill and the injured.

Interviewer:
Ahmed, what do you wish for?

Ahmed:
I wish the old days would return and I can go back and play with the children I used to play with, and to go back to school and forget about everything and not wake up early to go look for firewood, water and food. That is how we spend our days, very tiring.

Um Farah, their aunt:
Their mother died while she was at the bakery getting bread. A bomb was dropped and her kidney was injured. And their father, he died before their mother did. He was going with some people and carrying a gun and some people betrayed them and 100 men were killed. Their father was one of them. They have nobody, I brought them to look after them and I will not give up on them. For their bad luck, things got worse and life got more difficult. We have been under siege for a year, without food or medical care or anything. We go to the garden and get some edible plants while the children go to the public kitchen and get some food, that is how we are managing.

Interviewer:
How many children are they?

Um Farah, their aunt:
They are four, two older girls and two boys.
That is how we are living, the children go everyday to get water from a place far away, it has been two months since they cut off the water.

Interviewer:
How do the children treat you?

Um Farah, their aunt:
They are great, they call me mom and I do not make them feel that I am only their aunt. I love them very much, and I treat them as if they were my own children.

The teacher:
Youssef’s case is similar to many cases we have here at the school. This child lost his family and he no longer has people to care for him. In the beginning, we felt that he is lonely and isolated, until we knew what his problem was, and as much as possible we tried to push him to communicate with the other children. In addition to that, similar to many other children, they bring buckets and container and take permission to leave class in order to go to the public kitchen and get food so they can survive.

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School for refugee children in Qaa
Qaa, Lebanon
By Ferran Quevedo
11 Jul 2014

lunch break for the sandwich. Many of these children have survived more than two years under the bombings in cities like Homs or Aleppo

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School for refugee children in Qaa
Qaa, Lebanon
By Ferran Quevedo
11 Jul 2014

Two brothers enjoying a class days after arriving to Lebanon

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School for refugee children in Qaa
Qaa, Lebanon
By Ferran Quevedo
11 Jul 2014

Due to the dedication of Father Elyen Nasrallah, priest of the Greek Catholic Parish Church of Qaa, more than 250 children aged from 3 to 12 years living in tents, can receive primary education and health care.

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School for refugee children in Qaa
Qaa, Lebanon
By Ferran Quevedo
11 Jul 2014

A girl is engaged in the French lesson. They also study English and Arabic as co-official languages ​​of the Lebanese education system

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School for refugee children in Qaa
Qaa, Lebanon
By Ferran Quevedo
11 Jul 2014

School starts at 3 pm. There are very few teachers in the town and they work in the public school up in the morning.

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School for refugee children in Qaa
Qaa, Lebanon
By Ferran Quevedo
11 Jul 2014

The school for refugee children in Qaa is one of three schools that hosts child refugees in the area. The other two schools are in no man's land territory

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School for refugee children in Qaa
Qaa, Lebanon
By Ferran Quevedo
11 Jul 2014

Almost every day the children receive a caloric suplement as biscuits or sandwich and fruit juice during the afternoon

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School for refugee children in Qaa
Qaa, Lebanon
By Ferran Quevedo
11 Jul 2014

The nursery. There are 70 Syrian children aged from 3 to 6 years divided in two classrooms