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Asylum Seekers in Spain 29
Barcelona, Spain
By Albert Gonzalez Farran
05 Jun 2015

10-year-old Anatoliy Eliseev, from Uzbekistan, does his homework, while his mother Nina does the laundry at home in Barcelona, Spain.
Nina Eliseeva, 33, arrived in Barcelona in November 2013, after suffering many years of harassment by her ex-husband back home. She is Catholic and her husband's family is Muslim and repudiated her for not wearing the scarf and not practicing Islam. She took her son Anatoliy and migrated to Barcelona, where her brother Ivan was living. After nearly two years, she finally obtained asylum status and got a job as a shopkeeper. She wants to remain in Barcelona and reunite with her parents.

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Asylum Seekers in Spain 30
Barcelona, Spain
By Albert Gonzalez Farran
05 Jun 2015

Nina Eliseeva, 33, from Uzbekistan, and her son Anatoliy, 10, are leaving their home, in Barcelona, Spain.
Nina Eliseeva arrived in Barcelona in November 2013, after suffering many years of harassment by his ex-husband back home. She is Catholic and her husband's family is Muslim and repudiated her for not wearing scarf and not practicing Islam. She took her son Anatoliy and migrated to Barcelona, where her brother Ivan was living. After nearly two years, she finally obtained asylum status and got a job as a shopkeeper. She wants to remain in Barcelona and reunite with her parents.

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Asylum Seekers in Spain 31
Barcelona, Spain
By Albert Gonzalez Farran
05 Jun 2015

Nina Eliseeva, 33, from Uzbekistan, with her son Anatoliy, 10, walk around their neighborhood, in Barcelona, Spain.
Nina Eliseeva arrived in Barcelona in November 2013, after suffering many years of harassment by his ex-husband back home. She is Catholic and her husband's family is Muslim and repudiated her for not wearing scarf and not practicing Islam. She took her son Anatoliy and migrated to Barcelona, where her brother Ivan was living. After nearly two years, she finally obtained asylum status and got a job as a shopkeeper. She wants to remain in Barcelona and reunite with her parents.

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Asylum Seekers in Spain 33
Barcelona, Spain
By Albert Gonzalez Farran
05 Jun 2015

Nina Eliseeva, 33, from Uzbekistan, travels by subway in Barcelona, Spain.
Nina Eliseeva arrived in Barcelona in November 2013, after suffering many years of harassment by his ex-husband back home. She is Catholic and her husband's family is Muslim and repudiated her for not wearing scarf and not practicing Islam. She took her son Anatoliy and migrated to Barcelona, where her brother Ivan was living. After nearly two years, she finally obtained asylum status and got a job as a shopkeeper. She wants to remain in Barcelona and reunite with her parents.

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Asylum Seekers in Spain 32
Barcelona, Spain
By Albert Gonzalez Farran
05 Jun 2015

Nina Eliseeva, 33, from Uzbekistan, does her shopping in a supermarket in Barcelona, Spain.
Nina Eliseeva arrived in Barcelona in November 2013, after suffering many years of harassment by his ex-husband back home. She is Catholic and her husband's family is Muslim and repudiated her for not wearing scarf and not practicing Islam. She took her son Anatoliy and migrated to Barcelona, where her brother Ivan was living. After nearly two years, she finally obtained asylum status and got a job as a shopkeeper. She wants to remain in Barcelona and reunite with her parents.

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Asylum Seekers in Spain 34
Barcelona, Spain
By Albert Gonzalez Farran
05 Jun 2015

Nina Eliseeva, 33, from Uzbekistan, enters to a Metro station after doing her shopping in a supermarket in Barcelona, Spain.
Nina Eliseeva arrived in Barcelona in November 2013, after suffering many years of harassment by his ex-husband back home. She is Catholic and her husband's family is Muslim and repudiated her for not wearing scarf and not practicing Islam. She took her son Anatoliy and migrated to Barcelona, where her brother Ivan was living. After nearly two years, she finally obtained asylum status and got a job as a shopkeeper. She wants to remain in Barcelona and reunite with her parents.

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Asylum Seekers in Spain 35
Barcelona, Spain
By Albert Gonzalez Farran
05 Jun 2015

Nina Eliseeva, 33, from Uzbekistan, travels by subway in Barcelona, Spain, after doing her shopping.
Nina Eliseeva arrived in Barcelona in November 2013, after suffering many years of harassment by his ex-husband back home. She is Catholic and her husband's family is Muslim and repudiated her for not wearing scarf and not practicing Islam. She took her son Anatoliy and migrated to Barcelona, where her brother Ivan was living. After nearly two years, she finally obtained asylum status and got a job as a shopkeeper. She wants to remain in Barcelona and reunite with her parents.

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Asylum Seekers in Spain 36
Barcelona, Spain
By Albert Gonzalez Farran
05 Jun 2015

Nina Eliseeva, 33, from Uzbekistan, travels by subway in Barcelona, Spain, after doing her shopping.
Nina Eliseeva arrived in Barcelona in November 2013, after suffering many years of harassment by his ex-husband back home. She is Catholic and her husband's family is Muslim and repudiated her for not wearing scarf and not practicing Islam. She took her son Anatoliy and migrated to Barcelona, where her brother Ivan was living. After nearly two years, she finally obtained asylum status and got a job as a shopkeeper. She wants to remain in Barcelona and reunite with her parents.

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Asylum Seekers in Spain 37
Barcelona, Spain
By Albert Gonzalez Farran
05 Jun 2015

Nina Eliseeva, 33, from Uzbekistan, arrives at home in Barcelona, Spain, with her shopping.
Nina Eliseeva arrived in Barcelona in November 2013, after suffering many years of harassment by his ex-husband back home. She is Catholic and her husband's family is Muslim and repudiated her for not wearing scarf and not practicing Islam. She took her son Anatoliy and migrated to Barcelona, where her brother Ivan was living. After nearly two years, she finally obtained asylum status and got a job as a shopkeeper. She wants to remain in Barcelona and reunite with her parents.

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Asylum Seekers in Spain 39
Barcelona, Spain
By Albert Gonzalez Farran
05 Jun 2015

Nina Eliseeva, 33, from Uzbekistan, arrives at home in Barcelona, Spain, with her shopping.
Nina Eliseeva arrived in Barcelona in November 2013, after suffering many years of harassment by his ex-husband back home. She is Catholic and her husband's family is Muslim and repudiated her for not wearing scarf and not practicing Islam. She took her son Anatoliy and migrated to Barcelona, where her brother Ivan was living. After nearly two years, she finally obtained asylum status and got a job as a shopkeeper. She wants to remain in Barcelona and reunite with her parents.

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Asylum Seekers in Spain 40
Barcelona, Spain
By Albert Gonzalez Farran
05 Jun 2015

Nina Eliseeva, 33, from Uzbekistan, does her laundry at home in Barcelona, Spain.
Nina Eliseeva arrived in Barcelona in November 2013, after suffering many years of harassment by her ex-husband back home. She is Catholic and her husband's family is Muslim and repudiated her for not wearing scarf and not practicing Islam. She took her son Anatoliy and migrated to Barcelona, where her brother Ivan was living. After nearly two years, she finally obtained asylum status and got a job as a shopkeeper. She wants to remain in Barcelona and reunite with her parents.

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Asylum Seekers in Spain 41
Barcelona, Spain
By Albert Gonzalez Farran
05 Jun 2015

Nina Eliseeva, 33, from Uzbekistan, walks in Barcelona city center, Spain.
Nina Eliseeva arrived in Barcelona in November 2013, after suffering many years of harassment by her ex-husband back home. She is Catholic and her husband's family is Muslim and repudiated her for not wearing scarf and not practicing Islam. She took her son Anatoliy and migrated to Barcelona, where her brother Ivan was living. After nearly two years, she finally obtained asylum status and got a job as a shopkeeper. She wants to remain in Barcelona and reunite with her parents.

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Asylum Seekers in Spain 38
Barcelona, Spain
By Albert Gonzalez Farran
05 Jun 2015

Nina Eliseeva, 33, from Uzbekistan, and her son Anatoliy, 10, wait to start a music concert in Centre Civic Drassanes, in Barcelona, Spain.
Nina Eliseeva arrived in Barcelona in November 2013, after suffering many years of harassment by his ex-husband back home. She is Catholic and her husband's family is Muslim and repudiated her for not wearing scarf and not practicing Islam. She took her son Anatoliy and migrated to Barcelona, where her brother Ivan was living. After nearly two years, she finally obtained asylum status and got a job as a shopkeeper. She wants to remain in Barcelona and reunite with her parents.

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Asylum Seekers in Spain 42
Barcelona, Spain
By Albert Gonzalez Farran
05 Jun 2015

Nina Eliseeva, 33, from Uzbekistan, and her son Anatoliy, 10, wait for the start of a music concert in Centre Civic Drassanes, in Barcelona, Spain.
Nina Eliseeva arrived in Barcelona in November 2013, after suffering many years of harassment by his ex-husband back home. She is Catholic and her husband's family is Muslim and repudiated her for not wearing scarf and not practicing Islam. She took her son Anatoliy and migrated to Barcelona, where her brother Ivan was living. After nearly two years, she finally obtained asylum status and got a job as a shopkeeper. She wants to remain in Barcelona and reunite with her parents.

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Asylum Seekers in Spain 43
Barcelona, Spain
By Albert Gonzalez Farran
05 Jun 2015

Nina Eliseeva, 33, from Uzbekistan, meets her brother Ivan at his bar in Barcelona, Spain.
Nina Eliseeva arrived in Barcelona in November 2013, after suffering many years of harassment by his ex-husband back home. She is Catholic and her husband's family is Muslim and repudiated her for not wearing scarf and not practicing Islam. She took her son Anatoliy and migrated to Barcelona, where her brother Ivan was living. After nearly two years, she finally obtained asylum status and got a job as a shopkeeper. She wants to remain in Barcelona and reunite with her parents.

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Iraq: Swiss Priest Cares for Christia...
Sulaimaniya, Iraq
By Nils Metzger
02 Apr 2015

In August 2014, the Islamic State captured a number of Iraqi Christian towns in the area surrounding Mosul, among them Karakosh, the largest Iraqi city with a Christian majority. Most of its 50,000 inhabitants fled within a couple of hours on August and left most of their belongings behind. Today, more than 100,000 of the already shrinking population of Iraqi Christians have become internally displaced persons (IDPs) or fled to other countries. While most of the IDPs have found refuge in Ankawa, the Christian quarter of Erbil and two large refugee camps near the city of Dohuk, a small monastery in Sulaimaniya opened its doors for more than 200 refugees who have now been living in this very crowded place for more than half a year. A single Swiss monk takes care of them.

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The Christian Militia Fighting ISIS i...
Unnamed Road, Bakufa,Iraq
By Nils Metzger
23 Mar 2015

This footage shows fighters from the Assyrian Christian Dwekh Nawsha militia at their forward operating base in Baqufa, Iraq, as well as on the frontline where they operate together with Peshmerga units. Since August, Dwekh Nawsha has guarded the village of Baqufa – especially its church – from looters. They also control the road connecting Mosul, the largest city in the Islamic State, and Dohuk, a large Kurdish city currently giving refuge to more than 100.000 displaced persons, many of them Christians.

This specific section of the frontline is very quiet, with no major fighting for the past six months since neither side has any heavy weapons deployed here. Many refugees criticize the militia’s lack of commitment to recapturing their village in the Niniveh area.

This footage shows an ordinary day with Dwekh Nawsha: watching the enemy on the frontline, waiting at the base camp, patrolling the village of Baqufa, staying awake all night to guard the small checkpoint, preparing breakfast for the day shift, cleaning the base and returning home for their week off.

The footage includes interviews with Rama Baito, the social media manager of Dwekh Nawsha; Sargon Logan, a 25-year old bread vendor from the city of Dohuk who joined Dwekh Nawsha three months ago; General Tareq Suliman, the local Peshmerga commander on the frontline near Dohuk; and his second-in-command, Colonel Kerim, who accompanied the journalist to the frontline.

BACKGROUND:

In August 2014, the Islamic State captured a number of Iraqi Christian towns in the area surrounding Mosul, among them Karakosh, the largest Iraqi city with a Christian majority.

While most fled, some Christians organized themselves into militias to defend their villages. One of them is Dwekh Nawsha (‘The Sacrificers’). Since August 2014, they have trained more than 60 fighters from the Ninaveh region of Iraq and control a small part of the frontline north of Mosul near a village called Baqufa. Dwekh Nawsha is not just a militia of Christians, but one fighting for the interests of the ancient Assyrian communities in Iraq. The Assyrians cherish a culture much older than Christianity, but were also one of the first peoples to convert in the 1st century AD. Over the last few months, the Islamic State has destroyed a number of important excavating sites and historical cities of the Assyrians, a people who used to rule over large parts of the Middle East 3.000 years ago.

The interviews were conducted in English and Kurdish.

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Interview: US Citizen Provides Iraqi ...
Dohuk, Iraq
By Nils Metzger
22 Mar 2015

In February 2015, Judd Carroll from Tyler, Texas decided to start a fundraising campaign to help Christian refugee children in northern Iraq and then deliver the material aid himself. Not only did the fundraising effort fail but, despite harsh criticism from family and friends, he spent his own money to fly to Iraq to bring both baby food and military equipment to local Christian militias. In this 30min interview, he explains his motivation and why he wants to join these Christian militias fighting the Islamic State.

The interview was filmed at the headquarters of the Christian Assyrian militia Dwekh Nawsha (‘The Sacrificers’).

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Interview: Yousif Thomas Mirkis, Chal...
Sulaimaniya, Iraq
By Nils Metzger
20 Mar 2015

Archbishop Yousif Thomas Mirkis of Kirkul is one of the most important clergymen in the Chaldean Church and one of the most influential representatives of the Christian community in all of Iraq. The diocese of Kirkuk has always been a centerpiece of Iraqi Christendom, its former Archbishop Louis Raphael Sako having become the Patriarch of the Chaldean Church in 2013. This interview with Bishop Mirkis was conducted on 19 March 2015 in Sulaimaniya, Iraq.

The main topics discussed are the current refugee crisis and the future role of Christians in Iraq.

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Interview: Emanuel Youkhana, Head of ...
Erbil, Iraq
By Nils Metzger
18 Mar 2015

This footage is an extended interview with Archimandrit Emanuel Youkhana, priest of the Assyrian Church of the East and head of the most important Christian relief organization in Iraq, CAPNI. Here he talks extensively about why, even after the Islamic State has collapsed, he thinks Iraqi Christendom is about to die out, and why he does not expect things to get much better.

The interview was conducted in English.

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Christian Refugees in Erbil, Iraq 1080p
Erbil, Iraq
By Nils Metzger
18 Mar 2015

Jens Petzold is a Swiss monk who heads a monastery in Erbil, Iraq for Iraqi-christian refugees who fled ISIS attacks on their towns last year. A former resident of the famous Deir Mar Musa monastery in Syria, Petzold first came Iraq from Syria in 2011 in order to rebuild the abandoned monastery of Deir Maryam al-Adha. After the Islamic State started to attack Christian villages in Iraq this past summer, he became the sole caretaker of dozens of displaced families.

Petzold is a charismatic and unorthodox church congregation leader. This footage tries to show how a single person can make a big difference to many refugees as well as show how refugees from the Christian community try to get on with their daily lives, somehow trying to avoid leaving their homeland for good.

Background:

In August 2014, the Islamic State captured a number of Iraqi Christian towns in the area surrounding Mosul, among them Karakosh, the largest Iraqi city with a Christian majority. Most of its 50,000 residents fled within a couple of hours on the 6th of August and left most of their belongings behind. Right now more than 100,000 of the already shrinking population of Iraqi Christian community have become internally displaced or fled to other countries. While most of the IDPs have found refuge in Ankawa, the Christian quarter of Erbil and two large refugee camps near the city of Dohuk, a small monastery in Sulaimaniya opened its doors for more than 200 refugees who have now been living in this very crowded place for more than half a year. The monastery with its church and one building houses 80 people, nearby apartments another 100+ people. Almost 70 of them are children.

The author visited Sulaimaniya in March 2015. The entire footage was shot during that time. It includes interviews with Jens Petzold, several of the refugees, shows daily life in the monastery as well as a mass. I accompanied Jens Petzold during trips to the local market, to a Christian graveyard and to another local church community where they are raising funds to build new housing facilities.

The following rough cut is in chronological order as it was shot.

The interviews were conducted in English and Arabic.

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Syrian Assyrians Flee ISIS to Qamishli
Al-Qamishli
By TTM Contributor 33
25 Feb 2015

Qamishli, Syria
February 26, 2015

Christian-Assyrian refugees seek refuge in the Kurdish controlled city of Qamishli after fleeing ISIS advances on their villages of Tal Tamer, Tal Harmoza, Tal al-Jazeera, Tal Kouran and Abu Tina in the Hasakeh province. ISIS militants recently kidnapped 220 Assyrians in Hasakeh province setting a dangerous precedent for christians in the area and spurring entire villages to abandon their homes and flee ISIS advances.

SHOTLIST AND SOUNDBITES

Wide/ external of the Syriac Cultural Association in Syria
Wide of men holding diaper packs destined for displaced families
Wide of diaper packs and other supplies
Wide of supplies in pickup trucks
SOUNDBITE (Arabic, Man) Michael Kourieh, Member of the Syriac Cross
00:23 – 01:30
The Syriac Cross for Relief and Development. Our work currently revolves on to help our Assyrian brothers who fled the Khabour and Tal Tamer areas. They are living in several Assyrian churches. Our aim is to help the Assyrian so that they would feel at home. As you see from these supplies, we work all day long so they would not feel like strangers.
More importantly, from the information that we gathered, we learned that the displaced came from the Khabour area in the hundreds.
We feel sad about that, but we are trying our best to help them and offer them aid.
Various associations in Qamishli are involved in this work, such as the United Nations and Mother Syria Association. Everyone is making an effort [UNINTELLIGIBLE]. We are all coordinating our work and we hope that everyone is pleased with our work. God willing, we shall remain a unified people. “

Wide of Syriac Cross members unloading aid supplies
Wide/ external Syriac Cultural Association in Syria
Wide of aid supplies

SOUNDBITE (Arabic, Woman) Elizabeth Jouqa, A displaced from Tal Tamer area

01:50 – 03:30

We fled the moment we first heard that ISIS kidnapped women, young men and children. We ran away before ISIS arrived to avoid being captured.
Interviewer: Did many people flee?
Many! There is about 600 [displaced] families here in Qamishli. May God safeguard you.
My relatives were abducted. We do not where they are. Amy God protect them from [ISIS]. May God break their arms.
Interviewer: When did the attack take place?
It was in the morning. We heard about in the morning. We called our relatives In Tal Shmeiran who told us that [ISIS] invaded their village. They said that [ISIS] had taken the men two days earlier to an unknown location and that they were like sheep to the church and did not know what was going to happen to them.
Our men, fighters from the Sotoro organisation and the Kurds, may God protect them, defended the people, but what could they do? The others [ISIS] are many. There were probably 600 of them.
Interviewer: who do you demand help from? The international community? The autonomous administration here? Regional countries?

What can I say?
Interviewer: Do you want aid form the United Nations? Who do you want aid from?

We are grateful for anyone who wants to help us. I do not know who should help us.
Wide of Syriac Cross members unloading aid supplies
Wide of street
Traveling of street

SOUNDBITE (Arabic, Woman) Julia Butros, A displaced from Tal Tawil village
03:49 – 05:27
It was in at five in the evening. They [the rescuers] took children and their father. It was at five o’clock. People fled using a mobile diesel tank. They removed the tank from the vehicle and put people in its place and took to Hasaka, and from Hasaka they were brought here to Qamishli. People arrived here at midnight. The trip started at five and took all night long.
We do not anyone who was kidnapped. It is said that people were kidnapped in other villages. We cannot say anything other than that we have seen did not see.
Interviewer: Did ISIS blow churches?
They did in another village but not in Tal Tawil. They blew up churches in another village. . In other villages there people whose whereabouts are not known.
Interviewer: How many people fled to Hasaka and Qamishli?

I do not know. May be around 300 or 400 people. Around 100 people fled from our village, Tal Tawil.

Interviewer: who do you demand help from? The international community? The United Nations?
May God reward them, whether they offered aid or not. May God reward you and anyone who helps these troubled people.
Interviewer: Is ISIS present in your village?
[ISIS] is present in other villages. This man’s wife does know anything about her family. Interviewer: Did the Kurdish fighters and the Syriac Council liberate these villages?
They are trying to help, I am not saying that they are not, but what can they do?

Wide of Syriac Cross members unloading aid supplies
Various of Christian icons hung on a wall
Close-up of sign hung on an aid vehicle reads: “An initiative of love and solidarity towards from Tal Tamer and Khabour.”

Close-up of sign on aid vehicle “Syriac Cross Organization for Relief & Development”
Medium of sign on aid vehicle “Syriac Cross Organization for Relief & Development”

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Captive ISIS Member: "I was Forced to...
Rojava
By Andrea Milluzzi
11 Dec 2014

Fighting between ISIS militants and Kurdish groups in northeastern Syria has left a large number of killed or injured fighters as well as many prisoners of war on both sides.

When ISIS took control over rebel-held cities in Syria, many men joined ISIS, either by choice or by force.

This is a video of interviews with two ISIS militants captured by the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) in the province of Hasakah. They both claim that they were coerced into joining the militia group and were given “hallucinogenic pills” before fighting. One of the prisoners was preparing for a suicide bomb.

The captive fighters talk about their experience before joining ISIS, while they fought with the Free Syrian Army (FSA), the reasons why they joined ISIS and their future plans if they were freed by the YPG.

ABBAS HUSSEIN AL ASSI

(00:03) Tell me your name, your age, where do you come from and why did you join ISIS

(00:12) My name is Abbas Hussein Al Assi, I am 25 years old, and I come from Tal Hamis in Al Hasaka Governorate. I started fighting with the FSA and I joined the Islamic State by force.

(00:34) What year did you join ISIS and for how long? And how long did you stay with the FSA?

(00:47) I stayed for almost a year with ISIS. I also fought with the FSA for a year, too.

(00:58) Where and when did they capture you?

(01:02) They captured me while I was preparing myself for a suicide attack, nearly a month ago.

(01:15) Why did you join the FSA?

(01:21) The main reason I joined the FSA is the salary they gave me. I was paid 25,000 Syrian pounds (around $142) [a month].

(01:31)What was that monthly salary that ISIS paid you?

(01:33) ISIS did not give me any salary.

(01:37) Do you have any news from your relatives?

(01:40) No.

(01:42) What was the purpose of your suicide attack?

(01:48) My purpose was to go to heaven.

(01:56) Are you 100% sure that after a suicide attack you will go to heaven?

(02:02) Yes.

(02:08) When you took the decision of doing a suicide attack, did you not think that you will leave your family and friends and die?

(02:25) They [ISIS] were brainwashing us.

(02:29) What do you think now of the Islamic State?

(02:33) I regret [joining] it.

(02:36) If they [YPG] set you free, will you still think of carrying out a suicide attack?

(02:44) No. I want to join them [YPG] against ISIS.

(02:48) So, do you hate the Islamic State now?

(02:50) Yes.

(02:52) Do you think ISIS does it work by brainwashing people?

(02:58) Yes. They use drugs to brainwash us.

(03:03) Are you religious?

(03:11) Yes, I am very religious.

(03:13) But using drugs is against Islam, right?

(03:20) It is, but they issue a fatwa to make it religiously lawful.

HUSSEIN AL ABDUL

(03:22) Tell me about yourself

(03:26) My name is Hussein Al Abdul, and I am 23 years old. I come from Tal Hamis in Al Hasakah Governorate. I started as a Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighter before I joined the Islamic State.

(03:44) Why did you join?

(03:46) I joined by force.

(03:53) I was fighting with the FSA for almost eight months before ISIS took control over the city and I was obliged to join them. I fought with them for almost a year and four months.

(04:03) When and why were you captured?

(04:06) It has been almost 13 days that the [Kurdish] People’s Protection Units [YPG] captured me; I was ambushed during the fighting.

(04:14) Do you believe in the idea of an Islamic State and the Caliphate and why?

(04:23) At first I never accepted the idea of an Islamic State, but once I joined, I started to support it. We were taught lessons about [fighting] in the field and Sharia.

(04:45) Do you think the Islamic State is right? What are the goals you wish to achieve with the Islamic State?

(05:01) The path of the Islamic State is the right path. I wish that an Islamic State will be established.

(05:05) In which areas have you fought since you joined the Islamic State?

(05:13) I fought in Iraq, mostly in Mosul.

(05:36) When ISIS first invaded Mosul, were you one of the fighters?

(05:38) Yes.

(05:40) In your opinion, is life in Mosul now better than it was before ISIS?

(05:55) No. We thought that when we occupied Mosul life would be better, but when we took over from the Iraqi government, things did not go as expected.

(06:05) This means life in the areas under ISIS control is not better now

(06:12) We always thought we could make things better in the cities we occupy. But then insecurity and instability spread in these areas.

(06:20) Do you think the Islamic State will win this war?

(06:27) At first, I thought ISIS will win, but considering the number of killed and injured ISIS fighters I don’t think the group will win.

(06:42) Do you have Christian friends?

(06:44) No, I do not.

(06:47) Have you never had any encounter with a Christian person?

(06:55) When I was fighting with the FSA I had relationships with people from all sects. But when I joined ISIS, we had to kill them.

(07:08) You say you never had any problem with being in contact with a person from another sect. Why, after you joined the Islamic State, did you start to think that these people should be killed?

(07:28) After we took lessons in Sharia, we realized that Christians should either be killed or convert to Islam.

(07:34) Don’t you think that what you learned from the Islamic State is wrong and inhumane?

(07:44) At first, we thought it was right. But when they [YPG members] captured us and treated us in a good way, we realized that what we learned from ISIS is wrong.

(07:54) Are you married? Do you have children?

(07:56) Yes I am married but I do not have children.

(08:00) What does your wife think about you?

(08:02)) She does not know about all this.

(08:03) Does your family have the same ideology as ISIS?

(08:05) No.

(08:08) How could you be with your wife if she does not like the Islamic State?

(08:12) I left her.

(08:15) When did you leave her and why?

(08:18) I left her almost a month before I joined ISIS. We faced some problems in our relationship.

(08:24) If they [YPG] set you free, what will you do?

(08:33) At first I thought I will join the Islamic State again. But now, after they treated me in a good way and after I realized I was wrong; I will not join ISIS again.

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Kidnapped by ISIS and Forced to Conve...
Qamishli, Syria
By laura.lesevre
20 Oct 2014

Qamishli (Northern East Syria, close to the Turkish border): a Christian man tells when he was at the mercy of the Isis, forced to convert to Islam and threatened to be beheaded

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Protecting an Ancient Damascus Synagogue
Damascus
By TTM Contributor 6
19 Sep 2014

September 19, 2014
al-Madares Street, Jobar, Damascus

Local citizens protect and maintain an ancient Jewish synagogue in the besieged Damascus suburb of Jobar, despite the heavy damage inflicted on it by heavy clashes between the FSA and Syrian Army. Located at the end of al-Madares street, the synagogue is believed to date from 720 BCE and was a temple for the prophet Khedr and prophet Elias.

The monument was largely neglected by the Syrian government before the war and has been damaged many times with mortars and bombs during the war. However, its local caretaker, and the inhabitants of the area continue to care for the building, as they have for decades.

Shot list:
Various shots show the location of the synagogue and the damage to the building.
Various shots show the remains of the synagogue, such as historical artifacts and some ancient writings
Various shots show an underground chamber that is said to have been used by prophet Khedr to pray
Various shots show the massive destruction that happened around the synagogue

Sound Bites:
Abu Loay, a member of the local committee of Jobar, interested in the issue of the synagogue, explains the story of the synagogue from its establishment to the present day.
(00:39)

Interviewer: How long have you had this job?

Abu Loay: We have been taking care of the synagogue for the past 2-3 years. There used to be a guard here, but he left after the problems started, and then the inhabitants of the area left, so we came here, the men and myself. We are taking care of it. The citizens and the elderly of this town asked us to stay here and guard the synagogue and until now, it has not been attacked.

Interviewer: How was the synagogue looking when you started working here?

Abu Loay: It was amazing, it had fence and it was an ancient historical monument, it goes back thousands of years.
Interviewer: Were there any Jews living in the area?

Abu Loay: Here in Jobar we did not have any Jews, but back in the days of our grandparents, we used to have Jews. When I was a child, I remember there was a big percentage of Jews in the Jewish street. They used to come every Saturday from the Jewish street to visit the synagogue here. When Israel was established, many of the Jews left, that was along time ago.

Interviewer: Were there huge numbers of Jews in Damascus?

Abu Loay: Yes of course, they all used to live in the Jewish street, an area named the Jewish street, in the old city of Damascus.

Interviewer: When did they leave and where did they go?

Abu Loay: Most of them went to Israel, the government back then gave them a choice, to either stay here or leave, and a lot of them chose to leave.

Interviewer: How was the synagogue destroyed?

Abu Loay: About two years ago, from the side of Harasta, they [Syrian Army] attacked us with the multiple rocket launcher. Over 15 shells were dropped at the same time. I took footage of the incident and then I tried [to expose the attack], I went to many media outlets, trying to call the Jews to come and protect the synagogue, but nobody responded. They [Syrian Army] hit the ceiling in two spots and the kitchen burnt down.

Interviewer: Why did you keep protecting the synagogue if the Jews themselves did not respond and did not come to protect it?

Abu Loay: First of all, the synagogue is located in my town, I am from Jobar. Secondly, it is a legacy, not only for the Jews, but also for us. It is a legacy for the citizens of Jobar. It is thousands of years old and it is as valuable as any church or mosque.

Interviewer: Being here in the synagogue, do you feel any attachment to this place?

Abu Loay: I swear I feel like it is my own home. I was sleeping right here, with my wife and children, and if I have to go somewhere I lock the place up. I was residing here for about six months.

Interviewer: How did you feel when the synagogue was attacked and destroyed?

Abu Loay: I felt like I lost a piece of my heart. Only someone who lives here will understand the true value of this synagogue.

Interviewer: Do you think there is a way to repair the synagogue?

Abu Loay: In this condition, all of this wreckage must be removed, they destroyed it. Go back to the old pictures of the synagogue and compare, it used to be heaven.

Interviewer: Do you speak Hebrew?

Abu Loay: No I only speak the language of Jobar.

Interviewer: Do you mind escorting us on a tour around the synagogue?

Abu Loay: Of course, I do not mind, let’s take the tour.
(04:28)

(04:33) Here there used to be the main door, and there, it used to be a kitchen. There is the room I used to sleep in.
This room was an office and I used to sleep in it. The women used to sleep upstairs, and this was a storage room. The main temple is in the back. This is the only tree that is still living.

(05:44) This is a new building, and there were rooms and the rooftop.
That used to be the entrance of the synagogue, and there use to be two rooms up there. And there was a water well.
Can you see this slot in the wall, they used to store the oil cans in their. Near the pile of rocks there used to be the alter. Those two chambers are completely destroyed.

(07:17) Look at the pigeon nest in the gap in the wall. That was here before the shelling.
This is an old school, and there used to be a wall here, the old school is for UNRWA [United Nations Relief and Works Agency].
There used to be a room, then a small hall and then another room, all ancient.
This carpet is from the remains of the temple, they used to love those colors, our brothers the Jews. This is another one, everything valuable we were able to find after the destruction, we removed it.

(08:39) Here used to be a huge bronze round plate, and here is the step of the prophet. Here they used to keep the oil, here they used to have books, and there was the seating area. The building was ancient and the temple had a very high ceiling.

(09:30) Here, where I am walking, used to be the few steps leading to the alter. Where I am standing now is the location of the alter. It was about half a circle and made out of wood and the chandeliers above it, it used to be amazing.

(10:20) Those gaps in the walls used to have frames, and here used to be a painting, and next to it a bronze box labeled "Charity".
And here, as we said before, they used to keep the oil.

(11:28) Here is the prayer chamber, our grandfathers used to say that the prophet Khedr used to come to pray here. This hole in the ceiling was an air vent for this chamber, but the shelling has destroyed most of the room.

(12:21) Look what the destruction did to it. The last time they dropped vacuum bombs on this area, the buildings around the synagogue were also destroyed.

(12:41) There used to be four candlesticks and a chair, an antique chair, they are not destroyed, we preserved them.

(13:05) This is the wreckage of the synagogue. They [Syrian Military] attacked us with many types of weapons, including jets. The last airstrike, they dropped vacuum bombs on us and destroyed all of the buildings.

Dying Trades in the Holy Land
By dafnatal7
04 Sep 2014

A look at some of Israel's last family businesses, which are being crushed by changing times. For some of the most traditional Jewish and Arab businesses, it won't be long before their doors close for the last time. New technologies, large corporations, and the draw of the modern world mean that the next generation of consumers and the heirs to the businesses no longer have an interest in the businesses' futures.

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Syria: the Business of Kidnapping
Ras al Ayn
By TTM Contributor 25
26 Aug 2014

April 5, 2014
Ras al Ain, Syria

Younan Constantine Younan, a Syrian-christian from Ras al Ayn, was kidnapped by Jabhat al-Nusra and released for a 100 000USD ransom after 40 days of torture. Younan's experience illustrates the marriage of ideology and business when it comes to kidnapping by radical Islamic militias in Syria. While the ultimate goal of the kidnapping was to extort money and not to punish Younan for being christian, Younan believes that the fact that he is christian allowed the kidnappers to feel the kidnapping was ideologically acceptable and not against Islam.

Shot List and Translation:

Shots of the city of Ras al Ain.
Shots of the Syriac Church in the town, located next to Younan's house.
Shots of Younan inside the Church.

Interview:

"I was kidnapped by the Gouiran battalion/ al Hasakah, I was tricked. My uncle owns a factory in western Ras al Ayn, just before Tell Halaf. We produce materials for building and construction. It was there that the battalion decided to settle in. We kept on asking them when would be leaving and they always replied "tomorrow, tomorrow, we will go and liberate al Hasakah". They were all citizens of al-Hasakah. One of the battalion's members was called Mohammad Aadouch. One day, they took all our trucks, stating that the trucks belong now to Jabhat al Nusra. We went to ask Jabhat al Nusra for our trucks, they replied the trucks aren't yours anymore. We kept on trying with the battalion and Jabhat al Nusra for 4 to 5 days to get our trucks back until the battalion's commander, called Tamim, said, 'I have the trucks and I will give them back to you after 2-3 days.' There was fighting in the area so we stayed home all day, and we went to meet with them every day around noon.

One day, he told us to go with him so he can show us where the trucks are, in a town called Al-Aziziyah. I went with my cousin. Right before arriving to Al-Aziziyah, we were ambushed by 6 fighters, some of them were in their cars, asking for our IDs. Once we gave them our IDs, they told us that we were "the wanted persons". The reason they said this was that my cousin had a farm that is worth a lot and, being Christian, his money was Halal. They pointed their AK-47 at us, handcuffed us, put us in the back of the vehicles and drove us to Ras al Ain, Allah only knows where to.

Once there, they told us our case was simple, a week maximum and we'll be free. On the tenth day, they called our parents, and asked them for 100,000 USD for each. We didn't have any contact with the kidnappers; they put us in a room, handcuffed and kept our eyes uncovered. They would only cover our eyes when the guards come in to give us food. On the fortieth day, they covered our eyes and they started to beat us with their hands, belts and riffles. We could tell that they were the same persons on the Gouiran Battalion because of their voices and their accents. While they were torturing us, our parents were on the phone, and they kept on asking them for money. After 4 hours of being tortured, they took us to a school they turned into a prison. We remained there until the fiftieth day, when they covered our heads and removed our handcuffs, and dropped us in a city called Suluk, in the countryside of Ar-Raqqah. We took a car to Ras al Ayn, where they took the money, the amount of 3,500,000 Syrian Pounds.

My uncle was dead when we came back, he never knew his son and nephew were kidnapped. The day after we went to check on the factory, we found out they stole everything; tools, metals, they left nothing. After few days, we discovered that all our personal papers and IDs were with Jabhat al Nusra. We realized that they were in coordination with the battalion that kidnapped us, when they told our parents before that they are working as an intermediary to set us free.

It was then when we realized that they were all the same."

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Goma Choristers Story 20
By Transterra Editor
13 Apr 2014

Choir members during Palm Sunday Mass at Saint Joseph Cathedral in Goma.

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Goma Choristers Story 21
Goma
By Transterra Editor
13 Apr 2014

Brother William Mulenda is giving communion to Seraphin Choir members.

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Goma Choristers Story 17
By Transterra Editor
13 Apr 2014

Abbé Romain gives the blessing before starting the pilgrimage to St Joseph´s Cathedral on Palm Sunday.

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Goma Choristers Story 16
Goma
By Transterra Editor
13 Apr 2014

Choristers wait for the arrival of abbé Romain near Goma´s prison on Palm Sunday.

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Goma Choristers Story 18
Goma
By Transterra Editor
13 Apr 2014

Seraphin and St Joseph´s choirs singing during the Palm Sunday pilgrimage to Goma´s Saint Joseph Cathedral.

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Goma Choristers Story 22
Goma
By Transterra Editor
12 Apr 2014

The opportunity to sing on Palm Sunday in front of hundreads of people was more than a reward for these choristers. They rehearsed every days for two weeks to prepare for the most important day in the Christian calendar.

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Goma Choristers Story 19
Goma
By Transterra Editor
12 Apr 2014

St Joseph´s Cathedral was destroyed during volcano Nyiragongo´s eruption in 2002. Goma's cathedral was rebuilt thanks to private donations.

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Goma Choristers Story 28
By Transterra Editor
12 Apr 2014

André Buke is the organist. Paterne taught him how to play ehen he joined the choir in 2007.
He lost his faith during the M-23 rebellion and blamed God for what was happening. However he rediscovered his faith when he escaped bomb
shelling in two separate occasions. The choir taught him to forgive and to be thankful.

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Goma Choristers Story 26
The Democratic Republic of the Congo, Goma
By Transterra Editor
12 Apr 2014

David Bandeke is Paterne´s son. He has been in his father´s choir since 2009.

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Goma Choristers Story 25
Goma
By Transterra Editor
12 Apr 2014

Dominique Briego is the sound technician. He has been in Seraphin Choir since 2011.

Seraphin ́s Choir had to split during the take of Goma by the M-23 in November 2011. Those who could afford it ran away south to Bukavu, in South Kivu, or the neighboring Rwanda, while the others had no choice but to stay. Dominique Briego could not flee because he was suffering from an injury acquired in a biking accident. During his recovery, choristers often came to support him and make sure he was fine.

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Goma Choristers Story 24
By Transterra Editor
12 Apr 2014

Monique Mulonda has been in Seraphin Choir since 2008. Easter will be an opportunity to perform in front of hundred at Goma's cathedral. Seraphin choir has joined forces with St Joseph ́s, whose members are older. For over two weeks, they have rehearsed almost every day to prepare for one of the most important days in Christian calendar.

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Goma Choristers Story 23
By Transterra Editor
12 Apr 2014

Rachel Kavira has been in Seraphin Choir since its beginning in 2006.
Seraphin choir's members have found singing as away, not only to embody their faith, but also as a way to find of peace and discipline. Their rehearsals can go up to 4 hours every day and attention to detail is mandatory.

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Goma Choristers Story 15
Goma
By Transterra Editor
12 Apr 2014

A rehearsal at the Amputees Center in Goma, North Kivu.
Seraphin ́s Choir had to split during the take of Goma by the M-23 on November 2011. Those who could afford it ran away south to Bukavu, in South Kivu, or the neighboring Rwanda, while the others had no choice but to stay.