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Oldest Damascus Synagogue
Damascus, Syria
By Jawad Arbini
18 Apr 2016

Ancient Jewish and Islamic sites in the Jobar neighborhood of Damascus are victims of the Syrian civil war. The rebel held area includes the oldest synagogue in Damascus and one of the oldest in the world.
The Eliyahu Hanavi Synagogue complex was heavily damaged in May of 2014, during shelling by the Syrian regime forces as they attempted to retake the area.
Mortar bombs also damaged and destroyed neighboring ancient Islamic sites such as the al-Sadat Mosque, al-Assaami tomb, and the Old Bath. All were hundreds of years old.
The Eliyahu Hanavi Synagogue used to contain what is believed to be the oldest Torah. Both regime and rebels accuse the other of stealing the synagogue’s artifacts.
The Jobar neighborhood has been controlled by Syrian rebels since regime forces withdrew in 2013. It is the closest opposition held area to central Damascus, and witnesses clashes almost on a daily basis.

Media created

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Oldest Damascus Synagogue
Damascus, Syria
By Jawad Arbini
14 Apr 2016

Ancient Jewish and Islamic sites in the Jobar neighborhood of Damascus are victims of the Syrian civil war. The rebel held area includes the oldest synagogue in Damascus and one of the oldest in the world.
The Eliyahu Hanavi Synagogue complex was heavily damaged in May of 2014, during shelling by the Syrian regime forces as they attempted to retake the area.
Mortar bombs also damaged and destroyed neighboring ancient Islamic sites such as the al-Sadat Mosque, al-Assaami tomb, and the Old Bath. All were hundreds of years old.
The Eliyahu Hanavi Synagogue used to contain what is believed to be the oldest Torah. Both regime and rebels accuse the other of stealing the synagogue’s artifacts.
The Jobar neighborhood has been controlled by Syrian rebels since regime forces withdrew in 2013. It is the closest opposition held area to central Damascus, and witnesses clashes almost on a daily basis.
Translation:
- (02:18) Abu Kamakl, Local activist:

“The Synagogue remained here in Jobar until the beginning of 2013 before the withdrawal of the regime forces. It used to contain the oldest Torah in the world and the closet to the Torah of the prophet Moses. The Synagogue also known asThe Prophet Khedr Tomb, was looted in 2013 when the regime forces withdrew from the area, they stole all the content and ancient properties of the synagogue. The Synagogue is a complex composed of two main courtyards, one of which is renovated and contains the house of the synagogue servant, and a second very old courtyard. After it was looted the regime bombed the synagogue many times until it was destroyed, as you can see there is almost nothing left of the building. There used to be a passage here and a passage there and the tomb of the prophet Khedr, the house of the servant a small school belonging to the synagogue, they were all destroyed in shelling, twice with airstrikes, once with remotely guided missiles, and now the synagogue turned to be only rocks.”

  • (05:25) Abu Najem, Resident of Jobar:

“We are here near the Jobar Grand Mosque.. When the Alawite regime recognized the value of this historical old mosque that was built in the era of the Caliph Omar ben Abdul Aziz, he destroyed it to prevent muslims from coming and praying inside. As you can see they destroyed it, as they also destroyed the neighboring synagogue which is the most inveterate in the world not only in Syria, it was also looted by the Shabiha who left nothing behind. Also the targeted the Harmala ben Walid Mosque which has a great historical value and it’s famous among the Arab world, the regime forces ruined it before leaving the area.”

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Emergency Response Team Ghouta, Syria
Ghouta, Damascus
By Jawad Arbini
02 Mar 2016

The Syrian Civil Defense Corps, known as The White Helmets, constantly seeks new volunteers to attend training classes on rescue and first aid, in part due to the constant loss of aid workers in dangerous rescue operations in Eastern Ghouta, on the outskirts of Damascus.

This video shot in Zamalka shows volunteers undergoing training classes to increase their preparedness for their next rescue mission. It also follows Civil Defense volunteers on a real-life rescue mission, where they hurry to the site of a bomb blast to rescue victims and perform critical first aid.

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Opposition Held Douma Under Syrian Re...
Douma, Syria
By Jawad Arbini
27 Jul 2015

Walaa al-Saour was pregnant when killed in the airstrike. Doctors were able to save her eight months pre-mature baby.

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Opposition Held Douma Under Syrian Re...
Douma, Syria
By Jawad Arbini
27 Jul 2015

Walaa al-Saour (covered in the background of the picture) was pregnant when killed in the airstrike. Doctors were able to save her eight months pre-mature baby.

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Opposition Held Douma Under Syrian Re...
Douma, Syria
By Jawad Arbini
27 Jul 2015

Walaa al-Saour was pregnant when killed in the airstrike. Doctors were able to save her eight months pre-mature baby.

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Opposition Held Douma Under Syrian Re...
Douma, Syria
By Jawad Arbini
27 Jul 2015

Walaa al-Saour was pregnant when killed in the airstrike. Doctors were able to save her eight months pre-mature baby.

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Opposition Held Douma Under Syrian Re...
Douma, Syria
By Jawad Arbini
27 Jul 2015

Walaa al-Saour was pregnant when killed in the airstrike. Doctors were able to save her eight months pre-mature baby.

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Opposition Held Douma Under Syrian Re...
Douma, Syria
By Jawad Arbini
27 Jul 2015

Walaa al-Saour was pregnant when killed in the airstrike. Doctors were able to save her eight months pre-mature baby.

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Opposition Held Douma Under Syrian Re...
Douma, Syria
By Jawad Arbini
27 Jul 2015

Walaa al-Saour was pregnant when killed in the airstrike. Doctors were able to save her eight months pre-mature baby.

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Opposition Held Douma Under Syrian Re...
Douma, Syria
By Jawad Arbini
27 Jul 2015

Local rescuers use a tractor to remove debris in the neighborhood that was hit by the airstrike.

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Opposition Held Douma Under Syrian Re...
Douma, Syria
By Jawad Arbini
27 Jul 2015

A tractor removing debris in the neighborhood that was hit by the airstrike.

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Opposition Held Douma Under Syrian Re...
Douma, Syria
By Jawad Arbini
27 Jul 2015

Man checking his apartment in the neighborhood that was hit by the airstrike.

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Opposition Held Douma Under Syrian Re...
Douma, Syria
By Jawad Arbini
27 Jul 2015

A tractor removing debris in the neighborhood that was hit by the airstrike.

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Opposition Held Douma Under Syrian Re...
Douma, Syria
By Jawad Arbini
27 Jul 2015

A man holds his baby daughter who is injured in the bombing on Douma. He is waiting for help from medics in the small field hospital, as they are busy trying to treat more serious cases.

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Opposition Held Douma Under Syrian Re...
Douma, Syria
By Jawad Arbini
27 Jul 2015

Medics use a defibrillator as they try to restart the heart of a victim who was seriously injured in the bombing. Despite the effort of the doctors, the man died.

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Opposition Held Douma Under Syrian Re...
Douma, Syria
By Jawad Arbini
27 Jul 2015

A medic that did not want to show his face holds the pants of a victim that lost his right leg due to the airstrike.

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Opposition Held Douma Under Syrian Re...
Douma, Syria
By Jawad Arbini
27 Jul 2015

At the field hospital, a medic gives first aid for Abu Yehia, who suffers from injuries and burns due to the airstrike on his apartment.

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Syria: Battling Cancer in Besieged Gh...
Eastern Ghouta
By Jawad Arbini
10 Jun 2015

10 year old Ammar suffers from neuroblastoma, a rare type of childhood cancer that develops in infants and young children. Ammar lives with his family in the opposition-held area of Douma, in Eastern Ghouta. The residents of Eastern Ghouta have been surviving under extremely hard living conditions due to the ongoing siege imposed by the Assad regime's forces over the past two years.

In Dar al-Rahma, the only active cancer center operating in Eastern Ghouta, Dr. Wissam says that Ammar suffered sever emotional trauma, which was the primary cause of his neuroblastoma.

Ammar’s mother remembers when, nearly 3 years ago, heavy clashes and shelling erupted in the neighborhood where they reside. The clashes lasted for three hours and severely terrified Ammar. Since then the boy had suffered from fever and continuous sickness.

Dr. Wissam also stressed that with very little resources, Dar al-Rahma center is currently treating about 600 patients suffering from different types of cancer with an 11% death-rate.

Unfortunately, Transterra Media received a message on the night of Saturday, June 13, 2015 announcing the death of Ammar.

Transcription:

  • (02:27) Um Ammar, Ammar’s mother (woman, Arabic):

Ammar was sitting at the balcony when shelling and clashes erupted, he was extremely terrified, since then he suffered from continuous fever and sickness. We took him to the doctor who examined him and found out that he has neuroblastoma. It’s a rare disease that infects one out of every 10,00 children, and the reason is emotional trauma. (02:50)

(02:51) Given that the area is besieged, how are you receiving Ammar’s medications? (02:58)

(02:58) The doctor gets part of them, but we were responsible to get the rest. There are also some medical tests that the doctor asks us to do, but we cannot send it for analysis in Damascus. This is an additional reason why his situation is relapsing, not being able to deliver the medical tests to Damascus. This made his recovery take more time. This led [Ammar] to loose his sight. We are hoping, but we don’t think he could get any better now (03:38).

(03:40) Under the siege, should Ammar follow a specific diet program? (03:45).

(03:46) The doctor says that half of the treatment is done through his diet program. Alhamdulillah we are doing all what we can. We cannot do anything more. Yes, he should follow a specific diet program, unlike other children (04:02).

  • Doctor Wissam, Doctor specialized in cancer diseases (woman, Arabic):

(04:24) At first, Ammar was diagnosed after he was suffered from a shock. He suffered from continuous sweating and fever, and he was later diagnosed with neuroblastoma. He started with this treatment and then had to stop it at the (name of the previous hospital) where he had already started the treatment, and came to continue the treatment here. When he got here, he was already in the recovery stage, but unfortunately, within two months, his situation relapsed dramatically due to a psychological trauma. We had to start a new treatment phase. One of the reasons why his treatment was delayed was the lack of the MRI Scanners. In addition of the lack of the medications, either because a delay in the supply or because of the hard situation to get the medications in Ghouta, we are trying at the moment to stay in contact with international organizations such as the Red Crescent or other organizations responsible for swelling diseases, perhaps Ammar has any chance [by getting the medications inside Ghouta]. (05:32).

(05:33) What are the efforts that this medical centre is doing under the siege? (05:40).

(05:41) At the moment we have more than 600 persons who are documented of having swelling diseases that are under treatment, and a percentage of 30% of recovery, and 10.5% of deaths. We are trying to give them the medications as much as possible, but we are facing some difficulties in doing so. The besiege and the diet factor are playing a negative role in the process, because it is known that the cancer patient needs a specific food diet program so that his body can bear the medications he is receiving. In addition of course to the negative psychological factor (06:22).

  • Heba, Nurse (woman, Arabic):

(08:16) Here’s a breast eradication with part of the other breast and some parts of the armpit.. we take samples of the armpit and sample of the breast to check how bad is the infection, we record it and we send it for the lab analysis.

  • Abu Khaled, Managing Director of Dar al-Rahma center (man, Arabic):

(08:29) Sometimes the patient comes and take the dose of the medications to make the swelling smaller. We are sometimes in need of a surgery, but unfortunately, most of the medical centers that do these surgeries stopped their operations. The reason is because their efforts are put only for the injured people. This reason sometimes plays a negative role in the recovery of the patients, because the patients who are not getting this surgery have their situation relapsed.

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'Ghouta Dry': Handmade Cola Under Siege
Misraba, Eastern Ghouta
By Jawad Arbini
24 May 2015

May 2015,
Misraba, Eastern Ghouta

Residents of the rebel-held town of Misraba in Eastern Ghouta, have created a factory to make soft drinks with little resources and very simple means.
The workers of the factory use alimentary acids and preservatives, which they find in pharmacies, and using a drill they mix the powder with water. Once the melange is ready, they fill it in second hand glass bottles.
It's been two years since Eastern Ghouta has been under a tight military siege imposed by the Assad regime forces and allies.

Transcription:

00:00 – 00:090
Hand-written sign in Arabic reads: “Local cola. Freedom tastes sweeter.”
03:38 – 03:41
Hand-written sign in Arabic reads: “Local cola. Freedom tastes sweeter.”
03:42 – 03:47
Hand-written sign in Arabic reads:
“Creativity grows as the siege becomes stricter. Ghouta Dry is the beverage of the siege. Cheers, young men of Ghouta.” SOUNDBITE (Arabic, Man) Saeed al-Khawly, Factory Manager
04:41 – 05:18
“In the name of God, the merciful the compassionate; Given the suffocating siege and the very hot weather, we thought of creating any project that could alleviate [the impact of] the siege on people in Ghouta. We thought about it and found that the best thing to do would be to start a cola factory – something to cool people in this very hot weather.
Thanks be to God, we managed to start a cola factory in Ghouta with the simplest means.”
05:19 – 05:48
Q: Do the substances you are using have any effect on consumers’ health?
A: No, thanks be to God. We are using preservatives and some acids that are available in pharmacies; they are alimentary acids, not chemical ones. They [the acids] are used in food substances. The added preservatives make the beverage consumable for six months.”

SOUNDBITE (Arabic, Man) Abu Abdu, Street Vendor
05:49 – 06:08
“Customers say it is very good and it is delivered to me. I am selling about 300 to 400 bottles a day. We offer them cold to customers. They are enjoying the beverage and quenching their thirst. It is hot in Ghouta and we are under siege. This is very good.”

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Hunting to Survive in Besieged Ghouta
Eastern Ghouta, Syria
By Jawad Arbini
09 May 2015

May 9, 2015
Eastern Ghouta, Syria

Desperate for food and left with little resources, the residents of besieged Eastern Ghouta, east of Damascus, are hunting to survive.
44 year old Abu Adnan and 42 year old Abu Munther used to hunt as a hobby.
But following the 2011 uprising, the situation in their home area of Eastern Ghouta has critically changed. It has been two years since the opposition-held area has been besieged by the forces of the Assad regime.
Now, Abu Adnan and Abu Munther, who lost their jobs as construction workers, are obliged to hunt in order to feed their children. They can barely get 20 to 40 birds per day.
In addition to their daily struggle, the bullets in the besieged area are rare and very expensive and the hunters have to hand-make their own shotgun cartridges.

TRANSCRIPT

SOUNDBITE (Arabic, Man)Abu Andnan, Bird Hunter
02:57 – 03:46
“We are out hunting today. We set up the machine at night and we came to hunt quails. We do this every day. We set up the machine at night and go during the day to hunt because we do not have any work. We also do this to provide food for our families. We hunt about 30 to 40 birds a day, which are nothing. They are not enough to make a meal. They are half a meal. Our livelihood depends on God; some days we get a duck, a chicken, a big or a small bird. On some days we get a raven, which is bitter and cannot be eaten, but we are forced to eat it, given the situation and the siege under which we are living.”

SOUNDBITE (Arabic, Man) Abu Munther, Bird Hunter
03:47 – 04:12

“We are hunting because of the siege and lack of work. We hunt about 20 to 30 birds. We pluck them and feed them to our children. This is because of the lack of work and the siege, as you can see for yourself. Q: How does hunting before the revolution differ from hunting after it?
A: There is a big difference. Before the revolution we used to go out hunting for fun; now it is a primary necessity.”

04:13 – 04:30
“Q: Do you face any difficulties in filling cartridges? A: We are facing a lot of difficulties. There is a lack of needed material. We have to fix the machines by hand to be able to do this work. It would cost us too much to buy them readymade; we cannot afford them.”

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Ingenious Invention in Besieged Easte...
Douma, Eastern Ghouta, Syria
By Jawad Arbini
12 May 2015

May 13, 2015
Eastern Ghouta, Syria

Two years of being under siege has forced the citizens of Eastern Ghouta, near Damascus, to come up with ingenious inventions in order to survive.
This video shot in Douma, shows a heater invented by 60 year old Abu Yassin that uses solar energy to boil water.

Abu Yassin previously worked as a glazier but his business has dropped since the 2011 uprising. Nowadays he is using the glass and an unused satellite dish to build a solar concentration heater.

Using small pieces of glass and mirrors glued to the surface of the satellite dish, Abu Yassin directs the dish to face the sunlight which is reflected by the mirrors to hit the kettle or the cooking pot that sits in a basket in front of the dish.

TRANSCRIPT

SOUNDBITE (Arabic, Man) Abu Yassin

03:32- 06:03

Q: How did you come up with the idea of making a solar cooker?
A: After the siege, we started to look for ways to substitute gas. I saw this on the internet but nobody had applied it. I tried it and we found out that it was excellent. We tried it and it worked.
We used it to heat water and cook. People started demanding it. When we showed it, it was in high demand. People started to bring small pieces of mirrors that they had at home, and I showed them how to cut them, paste them together and place a basket. There is high demand for this.

04:17
Q: How do you make the solar cooker? How does it work?
A: The mirrors are cut in squares so that they would have similar shape and they are glued to the satellite dish using silicon or al-Shuala glue. Then you need to put thick metal bars to hold the cooking pot. This is it. It is simple.

04:43
Q: Let us talk about how long it takes to cook something. What have you cooked with it?
A: We have cooked everything; all dishes. There is not anything that we did not cook with this. It takes about half an hour to cook something. It is the same time it takes to cook something using a gas cooker.
Q: What did you cook?
A: We cooked fava beans with rice, pees with rice, mujaddara [a dish prepared with lentils]; all dishes. There is not anything that we did not cook with this.

05:13
Q: Tell us how your idea became a commercial project. How many clients were able to use this invention?
A: When I made this people clients started to tell their relatives or others who have seen it and I started to receive more customers through them. So far I made 20 or 25 dishes.
Of course, this helps to break the siege; you can use something instead of gas by employing simple tools. Anyone who has mirrors we cut them for him. It does not cost anything. The cost is very low and usually people would have a satellite dish. The customer brings the satellite dish and the mirrors. I only charge for cutting, which is not expensive.”

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Profiteering in Besieged Damascus
Ghouta,
By Jawad Arbini
02 Jan 2015

Eastern Ghouta has been besieged by Syrian government forces for more than a year and half. Some residents accuse local gold traders and money exchangers of taking advantage of the crisis. Traders buy golden jewelry for cheap from people who are in dire need of money, who sell their property in order to buy to food, residents say. This gold is then sold outside Ghouta for higher prices.
The price of food supplies is also manipulated by the same wholesalers. Basic foodstuffs can be sold at almost 10 times their original prices.
Recently, some traders in Ghouta started to deal with counterfeit currency (Syrian Pound, US Dollar, Euro and Saudi Riyal). Fake money was used by many people before it was detected by local pro-opposition committees that oversee the economy.
These officials also say that they are working on raising awareness among residents, asking them not to sell their golden jewelry for less than the usual price.

1 W/S of street from inside money exchange office
2 Shot of man weighting gold and calculating the weight

3 SOUNDBITE (Arabic, Man) Abou Sariye, money exchange office owner

(00:18) In this shop we trade in gold. We sell and buy gold. We buy gold from people who sell it to us or from the people in need. They come to sell it here. We work on collecting gold from the people, we buy it from them and then we sell it to the wholesalers who work on getting the gold out of Ghouta. The price of gold varies from Ghouta to Damascus, almost 600 to700 Syrian Pounds (SYP) [per gram, around $3.3 to$3.8]. This rate was much bigger a year ago, it was around 1000 SYP, so wholesalers used to take advantage of the situation and come to buy it from Ghouta to make a profit (00:57)

4 Various of man looking at gold
5 Medium of gold bracelets and jewelry
6 Medium of gold weighting
7 Various of shop banners
8 Various of men counting money

9 SOUNDBITE (Arabic, Man) Monzer Abdel Aal, director of the Economic Office in Eastern Ghouta, a pro-opposition committee

(02:17) Wholesalers are taking advantage of the people’s situation due to the siege on Eastern Ghouta and the people’s need for money. People are forced to sell the gold they have, which they could have owned for decades. Because of the siege on Eastern Ghouta for more than a year and a half and the people’s need to cover daily expenses, they [the people] are forced to sell parts of their gold to wholesalers who unfortunately deal with Shabiha [regime thugs]. These wholesalers are taking advantage of the difference in the rate exchange between Damascus and Ghouta, where the rate can vary up to 1200-1300 SYP per gram, and of course they are not selling one or 20 grams, but hundreds of grams (03:12).

10 Various of men counting money

11 SOUNDBITE (Arabic, Man) Monzer Abdel Aal, Director of the Economic Office in Eastern Ghouta, a pro-opposition committee

(03:40) A committee is being formed at the moment in Eastern Ghouta to maintain a stable price of gold and dollar exchange rate, and even to [stop the circulation of] counterfeit currency. This committee might set up small scale bank that will fix the rate of dollar exchange and [regulate] the process of selling gold (04:06).

12 Various of men counting money

13 SOUNDBITE (Arabic, Man) Monzer Abdel Aal, Director in the Economic Office in Eastern Ghouta

(04:25) Monzer Abdel Aal: They are trying to inject the Dollar, even if counterfeit into the market without the supervision and the inspection of the regime, the Shabiha [regime thugs]. They are injecting large amounts of money that are being exchanged here, and the proof is that the exchange rate varies from Damascus to here around 6 Syrian Pounds (SYP).

14 Various of money
15 Various of the streets

16 SOUNDBITE (Arabic, Man) Abou Abdo, citizen in Eastern Ghouta

(05:07) Wholesalers? May God get avenge them, because they are waging war on us; on our children and their lives. If a warplane bombs us we know that this is our enemy, but when wholesalers do this, they would be killing us and our children, and they are part of us. One day, they will punished for them (05:30).

17 Various of vegetables stalls

18 SOUNDBITE (Arabic, Man) Abou Abdo, resident of Eastern Ghouta

(05:40) Bulgur wheat is the cheapest, for 1000 Syrian Pounds (SYP) [a kilogram]. A kilogram of sugar costs 3500 SYP. I swear this has never happened before, not even in Moscow (05:50).

19 Various inside a copper artifact shop
20 Various of men walking among rubble

21 SOUNDBITE (Arabic, Man) Hajj Abdo, resident of Douma

(07:23) These are all antiquities, these are all from our house that we owned for long time ago. We opened a shop and we are selling these products. Nothing is left in our house, and parts of the house fell due to the bombing. I am selling things that are more than 200 years old and owned by my great grandfather for cheap so I can buy bread. All of these have great value, but no one knows their value here and I am forced to sell them for cheap so I can buy food (08:04).

22 Various of destroyed house

23 SOUNDBITE (Arabic, Man) Hajj Abdo, resident of Douma

(08:18) This house was bombed by the regime’s warplanes. The children died, the women died, the old men died, everybody died. Half of the house is destroyed. I inherited it from my great grandfather. It is around 500 years old, from the times of Mamluks (08:43).

24 Various of destroyed house backyard

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Besieged Syrians Extract Fuel from Pl...
Eastern Ghouta
By Jawad Arbini
14 Aug 2014

Eastern Ghouta, Damascus, Syria

Syrians in the besieged Damascus suburb of Eastern Ghouta have found an innovative way to turn plastic waste into petrol in light of a fuel shortage in the deprived neighborhood. While this fascinating process produces a desperately needed resource, it is also a very dirty and polluting. Toxic smoke from burning plastic engulfs the little courtyard where the fuel is produced and is leading to respiratory problem amongst the men in charge of the project.

The price of one liter of gasoline in the besieged eastern Ghouta, in rural Damascus, varies between 2500-4000 Syrian Pounds.
The price of one liter of diesel is 2000 Syrian Pounds, which led the civilians to extract fuel from plastic, which caused the price of the liter to decrease to half the price.
The extracting method consists of putting the plastic in sealed barrels through which a water pipe to passes through for cooling purposes. Then a fire is lit underneath the barrels which allows the Methane to be released first, then gasoline, and finally diesel.
There are many types of extracted fuel and the determining factor for the type of fuel released is the type of plastic used.

SHOT LIST:
Various shots show the fuel extracting method.
Shots of the fire lit underneath the barrels, the cooling pipe, and the different types of plastic.
Obtaining diesel and fuel, which are similar in color, in addition to gas, which is not useful at the current time.
General shots of the stands where fuel is sold.

TRANSCRIPT:

Speakers: Abu Hassan, a plant owner
Nabil, owns a shop for selling fuel Abu Yasser, owns a shop for selling fuel

"Here we have the filtration process, we are turning fuel into diesel, and we are turing plastic into gasoline, diesel and oil. We are extracting gas for domestic use. The whole process is about boiling and filtering, from hot to cold. It is a basic procedure."

"One kilogram of plastic can produce 800 grams of liquid, gasoline and diesel."

"Gasoline reached the price of 4000-4200 Syrian Pounds ($20-$21), and the amounts available were minimal. However, we found a substitute by heating plastic and extracting methane, gasoline, and diesel."

"The price of diesel was 3200-3500 Syrian Pounds ($16-$18.50) per liter, which is considered very expensiv. So people were no longer able to purchase it, but after we started operating on plastic and started extracting diesel from it, the price decreased to 1200-1500 SP and it became more available."

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Generating Electricity in Damascus' S...
By Jawad Arbini
02 Jul 2014

July 01, 2014
Hamoureya town, Damascus, Syria

A year and a half has passed with electricity being completely turned off in Eastern Ghouta. This inspired Abu Yaarob to turn bicycles into electricity generators that are able to generate up to 500 lumens which can run a washing machine, a television or electric tools. This method became widespread and now shops have reopened after closing due to the lack of electricity.

Shot list:
A television working through the bicycle
A washing machine working through the bicycle
A power tool working through the bicycle

Interviews

Abu Thaer - One of the people using the bicycle:
"Electricity has been off here, in eastern Ghouta, for over a year and a half, so the men in Ghouta had to turn the old electric bicycle that we used in the days of the regime into an electricity generator that can generate up to 220 volts that we can use to power a television and to charge 15 mobile phones, and to charge the battery lamps and to turn on a regular lamp and a washing machine. As you can see we will connect a lamp and a mobile phone and we used a three-way plug and as we start turning the pedals you see the lamp lights and the mobile phone starts charging.

Abu Kassem - An owner of a car repair shop who uses the bicycle:
Here I am a metal worker and because we have no electricity I am using the bicycle. We are generating electricity and working and we do not care about Bashar or anyone else, and God is with is, and we will win for sure.

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Manual Water Pump Built in Eastern Gh...
Damascus
By Jawad Arbini
09 Apr 2014

Video shot on February 1, 2014 in Eastern Ghouta, Syria.

This video shows the building of a manual pump to get water out of a 7 meter deep well. The besieged area of Eastern Ghouta has been suffering from lack of water, due to the lack of electricity, which powers the water pumps.

Video can be viewed here http://www.transterramedia.com/media/31603

Shot List:

-Various shots of Eastern Gouta showing people moving barrels and filling them with water.

-Interviews with the inhabitants of Eastern Gouta talking about their misery.

-Various shots of the manual water pump and the way it operates .

Transcription:

Abu Alaa:
We don’t have water. We want to wash ourselves so we can pray, do laundry, and there’s no water. We’ve been waiting for hours to get 10 liters of water, and we can’t even get our hands on it.

Abu Jamal:
I’ve been here since 8:30, standing in line. We get pushed back and forth, we just need a barrel of water, so we can wash ourselves, take a shower. Look at us, check out my neck, it's dirty, we don’t have water to shower, how are we going to clean ourselves?

Abu Ali:
There’s no water in the main pipe so we have to carry barrels to the nearest water tap and fill them up. We need to go through this mission about 2-3 times per day to fulfill our water need.

Abu Saleh:
Here in the eastern Gouta we are suffering from the lack of water, or to be more accurate, we have water but we don’t have any gas, fuel or even electricity. We needed to pump the water from the wells so we invented a manual device that includes an engine and a stepper that pumps out water when you press it. We can pump out water from a well that is 7 meters deep.

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Homemade cell phone antennas in Syria
By Jawad Arbini
09 Apr 2014

People living in besieged East Ghouta - 6 KM East of Damascus - have been coping with power outages and communications blackouts for a year and a half now. Communicating with family members or friends living outside East Ghouta is almost impossible, as mobile phone signals are nearly nonexistent. To make a call, people have to climb on their roof, which exposes them to shelling.

Phone call centers are installing expensive antennas and signal boosters, but most Syrians in East Ghouta cannot afford that. As a result, people have invented an ingenious and cheap (the antenna only costs 1500 Liras or 10 USD) antenna that is made with pottery in the middle of an aluminum container, wrapped in aluminum or copper cable. The antenna is designed to boost mobile phone signals. It is then wired to the house through copper wires wrapped around wood panels. The wires reach down to the homes where it transmits a signal for a cell phone call.

Interviews:

-Abu Mohammad - Works in installing the makeshift antennas: Here we made a makeshift antenna for phone signals. If we're going to get a real one, it will cost us 2 to 300 thousand liras. We're making them with our own hands, using aluminum cookers or street light covers. We're getting the equipment from the regime (laughs). We put a piece of pottery in the middle and wrap it with copper cable and we link a digital cable and take it down to the room. The coverage is 100% and it saves energy. The electricity has been cut for almost a year now. We can't even find batteries. If we want to make a phone call, we have to go on the roof and get shelled. With these antennas we can even use cellphones in basements.

  • Interviewer: Is there a demand for this by people?

  • Abu Mohammad (continued): We're making a lot of these for people. There's a lot of demand, this could even be exported to neighboring countries.

  • Abu Mahmoud - local: The people in East Ghouta are under siege. We are resorting to hand made inventions in order to be able to communicate with family and friends on the outside. Before we had to go to the roofs of high buildings to make phone calls, which is very dangerous, because of shelling and bombing. What we're trying to do here is to get the signal to people's homes so they don't need to go up on the roofs anymore, because that's really dangerous.

  • Abu Younes - Local that had a makeshift antenna installed at his house: We have problem sometimes, like signals covering on other signals. There you have to adjust the makeshift antennas until you get a clear signal. If the cable is made of copper it's better for the 3G signal.

  • Mohammad Al Hakim - Media Activist: These makeshift antennas don't cost more than 1500 Liras. Just the price of the digital cable.

  • Interviewer: Are these new ways working?

  • Mohammad Al Hakim (continued): Like you saw, at the moment more than a 1000 homes are using this method. It's been around for 20 days since we've invented the model. The 1000 to 1500 people who got the antennas installed are talking on their cellphones as if it was the government's signal.

Shot list:
- Various Rooftop shots - Various shots of makeshift antennas - Various shots of the cable heading down to rooms - Various shots of people talking on their cellphones using this new method

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The Night of the Attack Eastern Ghout...
Zamalka, Eastern Ghouta
By Jawad Arbini
09 Apr 2014

August 21, 2013
Eastern Ghouta, Damascus

Eastern Ghouta in the Damascus countryside was hit on the 21st of August, 2013, by Sarin gas that led to the deaths of more than 1300 people. The Syrian opposition blamed the government for perpetrating the chemical massacre, the government denied in using any such weapons and the Syrian official news agency 'SANA' claimed that reports about a chemical attack on Ghouta are incorrect.

This video was shot on the night of the chemical attack on many areas of the opposition help Eastern Ghouta. Few moments after the attack, the inhabitants of the targeted areas started to arrive to makeshift field hospitals, suffering from respiratory and neural problems.
Bodies of children and adults laid out inside and outside of the field hospitals awaiting a mass burial service. The video also includes shots of the mass burial on the morning of the attack. Also shots of the UN mission entering Eastern Ghouta in convoys to investigate the use of chemical weapon.

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Free Syrian Army Tunnels Under Damascus
Damascus, Southern highway
By Jawad Arbini
09 Apr 2014

Damascus

Video recorded on January 15, 2014 showing tunnels dug by the Free Syrian Army in the area of the Southern Highway in Damascus. The tunnels are used by the FSA to connect the villages of Qaboun, Barzeh, Zamalka and Jobar, move FSA fighters into Damascus and avoid positions controlled by Assad forces.
The FSA also tunnels under regime positions where they plant explosives to blow them up. The video shows fighters wiring explosives.
The video also shows FSA fighters monitoring surveillance cameras they placed for security and to watch Syrian Army movements.
The Southern Highway is a major strategic point which separates FSA and Assad forces. It is an important link among Damascus southern suburbs and it links the Damascus-Homs highway with the Damascus-Daraa route. And it is a key supply route for the Syrian Army.
The FSA has been targeting Syrian Army military vehicles traveling on the Southern Highway from Damascus to the Syrian Air Force Intelligence headquarters in Harasta.
The FSA has blocked the highway since last year at a number of locations near the communities of Arbin, Zamalka, Jobar and Ein Tarma.

Shot List:
1. Sniper scope
2. Syrian Army tank
3. Tank
4. Tank
5. Building on fire
6. Wreckage of military vehicle
7. Various shots of tunnels
8. Man in tunnel
9. Men in tunnel
10. Wiring explosives in tunnel - various shots
11. Explosion
12. Surveillance camera monitor
13. Fighters watch monitor
14. Various shots tunnels
15. WS countryside/buildings
16. Various shots of trucks
17. Damaged trucks

Transcription:

Sound bite: Souhail Tlas, Commander of Faihaa Brigade

"The Southern highway is the main way to enter Damascus from the towns of Kabbas, Mliha, Harasta and to the road to Damascus Airport. The highway is indeed a key supply route used by the regime as an alternate way to move tanks and military vehicles in order not to through the center of Damascus."

Sound bit: Souhail Tlas, Commander of Faihaa Brigade

"The Southern highway is extremely important because it is the main link between Daraa and Homs. The regime has been trying to take control over the highway for months but thanks to God he has never been able to do it because the whole area is completely linked and controlled by the FSA fighters."

Sound bite: Abu Samir, Field Commander of Moujahidin Brigade

"We dug this tunnel because it is hard to break into the regime military base, which is above us right now. It is quite hard because there is a wooded area that separates us so we dug this tunnel under the wooded area towards the military base. And now we will put explosives and blow up the building with all the soldiers and commanders inside."

Sound bite: Souhail Tlas, Commander of Faihaa Brigade

"We are now standing in front of a tunnel that reaches the entrance of Damascus. The FSA fighters have dug it in order to surround the militia of Hezbollah and regime forces. This is one of many tunnels that we have dug at the frontlines so no Shabiha and regime soldiers can escape from the FSA."

Sound bite: Obada, FSA Fighter

"We are always at the frontlines watching the regime soldiers. We are using these cameras. We are making it easier for FSA fighters to defeat any regime forces attack."

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Ghouta Under siege
Syria
By Jawad Arbini
09 Apr 2014

Video shot in the month of December 2013 depicting conditions in eastern Ghouta, an area near Damascus under the control of Syrian rebels.
Includes the following elements:
- Artillery and aerial bombing strikes on buildings in Ghouta. - Damage to buildings from the bombing strikes. - Sand bags and barrels to protect against bombing strikes. - First aid class teaching women how to treat the wounded and prepare medications. - Pushing cars and riding bicycles because of a shortage of gasoline. - Using bicycles to charge car batteries for electrical power - Using windmills to create electricity. - Corn husks, kernels and beans to be ground into flour for bread. - People clamoring to buy bread in a bakery. - Cooking on fires in the street. - Chopping firewood to burn for heat. - Transporting water to homes.

Shot list:
1- Kids looking to the military jet
2- Jet striking
3- Airstrike hitting a building
4- Airstrike hitting a building
5- Smoke coming out of a stroke building
6- Airstrike to a building
7- Airstrike to a building
8- Airstrike to a building
9- Smoke coming out of a stroke building
10- Sand bags in front of some shops
11- Rocket hitting a building
12- A shop with some rocks replacing the front door glass
13- A window with plastic shelters replacing the glass
14- Broken pieces of glass on the street
15- A rocket hitting an building
16- A rocket hitting an building
17- A rocket hitting an building
18- Sand bags and barrels in front of a shop
19- Sand bags and barrels in front of a shop
20- Sand bags and barrels in front of a shop
21- A damaged building with a man standing on the balcony
22- Broken windows of a building
23- Broken windows of a building
24- Broken pieces of glass on the street
25- Broken windows of a building
26- Sand bags in front of a shop
27- Barrels in front of a shop with a broken front door glass
28- Some people coming in to the shop protected by barrels

29-Sound bite - Abu El Fowz – grocery store owner
I am the owner of this shop and because of the large number of customers we had to fortify the place with barrels in order to protect them, protect the children and protect ourselves. Many people died in front of my shop so we set this protection so that people coming in will be protected.

30-Sound bite - Abu Thaer – Factory employee
We are pretty much used to the shelling these days. Before when a shell hit, or there was gunfire or the security forces were invading you could see everyone running for shelter. Now people don’t care as much, what is there more than death? Death occurs once. We are being shelled daily, a couple of days ago a Mig plane hit us over there. Here are the streets; this is our daily life, film as much as you want no one really cares anymore. What more is he going to do to us? He tried to hit us with Rocket launchers, Scud missiles and Mig planes and he couldn’t defeat us, he will not be able to defeat us. God’s will is above all of this.

31-Abu Mohammad – plumber
Despite all the shelling that West Ghouta witnessed, forty shells a day, with missiles and warplanes we are not concerned. Our main concern is to break the siege over West Ghouta; our concern is the piece of bread we have to secure for our children. He can shell as much as he wants; just break the siege so we can feed the children.

32- medical equipment
33-A woman taking notes
34-A woman preparing a natural medicine out of honey and some creams
35-First aid trainer giving medical tips to some women
36-First aid trainer giving medical tips to some women
37-Women attending a first aid training session
38-First aid trainer giving tips to some women
39-Women attending a first aid training session

40-Sound bite - First Aid Trainer
If a man gets hit by a sniper in front of me, what can I do for him? As first aid, we have to stop the bleeding. I put gauze on the places of entrance and exit of the bullet, and then I wrap an ace bandage tightly around the wound. That is all I can do. I can't do anything but wrap his wounds tight with gauze and ace bandage to stop the bleeding.

41-Sound bite – A trainee trying to apply some of the tips she just learned
We empty the needle from bubbles. Then after arranging the head we empty the air that's inside. We divide the heart into four parts; we take the upper right chamber. We put in in the catheter fully, and then apply pressure with a finger here so the blood won't pour out. We pull off its cover and pull it out and the catheter will be ready. Then you tape it from both sides.

43- Man walking while he’s pushing his bike and a taxi car (out of oil)
44-Man walking with his bike holding a sack that contains vegetables
45-Kid trying to produce electric field out of his bike
46-Men on their bicycles
47- A man trying to fix an electric wire
48-A man fixing an electric wire in a battery
49-A man placing electric wires
50-A battery connected to a bike through electric wires
51-A man rolling the bike pedals to recharge the batteries
52- Men rolling the bike pedals to recharge the batteries
53-Boys rolling the bike pedals to recharge the batteries
54-Boy rolling the bike pedals to recharge the batteries
55-Boys rolling the bike pedals to recharge the batteries
56- Handmade Fan that uses wind to generate electric field
57- Handmade Fan that uses wind to generate electric field
58-tilt down for the handmade Fan that uses wind to generate electric field
59-Shavers connected to a battery
60-A bakery using the handmade fan to generate electricity and turn on the light
61-The wind is turning the fan connected with wired
62-Fan in function
63- Fan in function
64-lamps in the ceiling
65-lamps connected to batteries
66-Some people in a crowded shop shouting and trying to get bread
67-Some people in a crowded shop shouting and trying to get bread
68-Some deserts made out of milk on a table in the street
69-Cooker over rocks and fire in the street
70-A boy cooking some food in the street
71-Beet being boiled in water
72-Peel of corncobs
58-Man peeling the corncob
59-Peel of corncobs
60- Man cutting wood
61-Man cutting wood with a tree branch in the foreground
62- low angle shot for the street with rocks and snow in the foreground
63-Cabbage on the floor
64-Corn grinder in function
65-A sign that locates the grindery
66-A hand showing grains
67-corns
68- grinded corns
69-flour made out of corncob peel and corns
70-Men pushing a barrel filled with water