Bedir Bedir

BedirKhan Ahmad from Qamishli Syria, Local Journalist, work like freelance, photographer and writer.

Collections created

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Syrian Kurds Celebrate Nowruz in Qami...
Syria
By Bedir
21 Mar 2015

On 21 March dozens of Syrian Kurds in Qamishli celebrated the Nowruz, the beginning of the Kurdish New Year.  

Since both militias have been engaged in a decisive and difficult battle to drive ISIS from northeast Syria, symbols of the People's Protection Units (YPG) and the Women's Protection Units (YPJ) militias were widely present during the celebration. 

Qamishli is controlled by the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), the political wing of the YPG and YPJ, and has declared autonomy over majority Syrian Kurdish areas that are collectively known in Kurdish as Rojava.

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Arabi Family in "Roj" refugees camp -...
Derek, Syria
By Bedir
19 Mar 2015

Photography story about Arabic family live in " Roj' camp for refuugees close to Derek - Rojava - Syria. the falmily fled from the attacking of ISIS on their villages near to Tal Hamis town called "Thehran".

"Rojava Reliefe Committee" offer the humanitarian help for the refugees there. 

The Arabic family who fled from ISIS consist of the father "Saoud Daham Al Hamil", the mother " Samira Al Khidir", they have 7 children ( 5 boys and 2 daughter).

they hope the peace and security come back to there village and they can come back home.

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Youth Return to Kobani to Help Protec...
Kobani, Syria
By Bedir
20 Feb 2015

.These collections of photos show return Youth to Kobani, to share in protection their land.

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Signs of Life Return to Kobani
Kobani, Syria
By Bedir
20 Feb 2015

This collection of photos gives several poignant examples of life trying to return to normal in Kobani in the wake of its liberation from ISIS by Kurdish forces.

After a harsh winter of heavy rain, people must cope with mud and cold as they attempt to reconstruct their lives after the 5-month battle that was waged for the town on the Turkish border. 

In the photographs, all manner of civilians, from small children to elderly men, somberly celebrate the return of the town to Kurdish forces. 

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Family Returns to Recaptured Kobane V...
Kobane, Syria
By Bedir
16 Feb 2015

The Rashad Muslim family returns to their village of Qara Maga, east of Kobane, after it was recently recaptured by Kurdish YPG and YPJ forces from ISIS. While the city of Kobane has fallen to Kurdish forces, many of the surrounding villages remain under the control of ISIS and Kurdish forces are now in the midst of campaign capture the villages as well. 

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People comeback to Kobani (Videos)
Kobani, Syria
By Bedir
07 Feb 2015

After liberation of Kobani, the life day by day comeback to the City, people start to come back to their city after 4 months they stayd out in Turkey and refugees camp in Siruc city on the other side of the border, to see their destroyed city after fierce battles the city witnessed it.

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Returning to Kobane
Kobane
By Bedir
07 Feb 2015

After four months of war and siege, residents of the Syrian city of Kobani have begun returning to the city to see what is left of their homes. 

The fighting left %50 of the city destroyed and for many, there is little left to come home to. While residents salvage the remains of their homes, the battle continues in the surrounding villages between the Kurdish YPG and ISIS.

Syrian photographer Massoud Mohamad accompanied the returning residents to document their journey. 

Media created

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Swedish Schoolteacher Joins Fight aga...
Al-Hassakah
By Bedir
28 May 2015

Jasper, a 24 year-old schoolteacher from Sweden describes his reasons for leaving his home and joining the fight against ISIS alongside the YPG in Syrian Kurdistan.

Going by his adoptive Kurdish name Agit, the young man has joined a battalion the YPG with two American fighters and one English fighter, all experienced military men, who give him special training to go head to head with ISIS in combat.

"I'm not afraid of them," he says. "They will pay for their crimes. I will fight to the last drop."

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French Fighter Joins Kurdish Militia ...
Outskirts of Ras al-Ayn (Serekaniye)
By Bedir
21 May 2015

Ras al-Ayn (Serekaniye), Syria

A French fighter, who introduced himself as 'Roj William,' explains in an interview why he joined the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia's fight against ISIS. The interview was conducted in French.

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French Fighter Joins Syrian Kurdish F...
Alia, Hassaka
By Bedir
12 May 2015

Alia, Hassaka, Syria
May 12, 2015

A 45-year-old French fighter who introduced himself as ‘Roj William’ is fighting alongside the Syrian Kurdish militia known as the YPG.
The single man from Paris says that he joined these forces three months ago because so many French fighters are fighting with ‘Daesh’, citing the Arabic acronym for ISIS. “I don’t think it’s representative of who we are as French people,” the French fighter added.

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Syrian Kurds Celebrate Nowruz in Qami...
Syria
By Bedir
20 Mar 2015

Kurdish men and women dance around a bonfire and brandish the People's Protection Units (YPG)' s flag during a celebration of Nowruz in Qamishli.

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Syrian Kurds Celebrate Nowruz in Qami...
Syria
By Bedir
20 Mar 2015

Kurdish women declare victory as they gather around a bonfire during a celebration of the Nowruz in Qamishli. The ritual fire symbolizes revival at the beginning of the New Year.

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Syrian Kurds Celebrate Nowruz in Qami...
Syria
By Bedir
20 Mar 2015

A Kurdish woman carries a torch during a celebration of the Nowruz in Qamishli.

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Syrian Kurds Celebrate Nowruz in Qami...
Syria
By Bedir
20 Mar 2015

Young Kurdish women are pictured during a celebration of the Nowruz in Qamishli.

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Syrian Kurds Celebrate Nowruz in Qami...
Syria
By Bedir
20 Mar 2015

Young Kurdish men march during a celebration of the Nowruz in Qamishli.

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Syrian Kurds Celebrate Nowruz in Qami...
Syria
By Bedir
20 Mar 2015

Young Kurdish women are pictured during a celebration of the Nowruz in Qamishli.

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Syrian Kurds Celebrate Nowruz in Qami...
Syria
By Bedir
20 Mar 2015

Young Kurdish men and women carry torches and Kurdish flags during a celebration of the Nowruz in Qamishli.

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Syrian Kurds Celebrate Nowruz in Qami...
Syria
By Bedir
20 Mar 2015

A Kurdish girl stands during a minute of silence in remembrance of fallen Kurdish fighters.

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Syrian Kurds Celebrate Nowruz in Qami...
Syria
By Bedir
20 Mar 2015

Young Kurdish men and women march during a celebration of the Nowruz in Qamishli.

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Syrian Kurds Celebrate Nowruz in Qami...
Syria
By Bedir
20 Mar 2015

A young Syrian Kurd carries a torch during a Nowruz celebration in Qamishli.

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Syrian Kurds Celebrate Nowruz in Qami...
Syria
By Bedir
20 Mar 2015

Young Kurdish women and men perform a traditional dance during a celebration of the Nowruz in Qamishli. Qamishli is part of a de-facto autonomous region in northeastern Syria, controlled by the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD).

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Syrian Kurds Celebrate Nowruz in Qami...
Syria
By Bedir
20 Mar 2015

Young Kurdish women carry torches during a celebration of the Nowruz in Qamishli, Syria. Kurdish women have had a large role fighting in the ranks of the Women's Protection Units (YPJ) militia against ISIS.

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Syrian Kurds Celebrate Nowruz in Qami...
Syria
By Bedir
20 Mar 2015

Young Kurdish women perform a traditional dance during a celebration of the Nowruz in Qamishli. Syrian Kurds were not allowed to celebrate the Nowruz in public before the outbreak of the Syrian revolution in 2011.

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Syrian Kurds Celebrate Nowruz in Qami...
Syria
By Bedir
20 Mar 2015

Young Kurdish men and women perform a traditional dance during a celebration of the Nowruz in Qamishli, Syria. The Nowruz has nationalist as well as cultural significance for Kurds around the world.

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Syrian Kurds Celebrate Nowruz in Qami...
syria
By Bedir
20 Mar 2015

Kurdish children wearing military fatigues take part in a celebration of the Nowruz celebration in Qamishli. The portrait seen on the young girl's outfit is that of Arin Mirkan, a female Kurdish fighter killed in the battle to retake Kobane from ISIS.

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American and German Vow to Remain in ...
Serekaniye
By Bedir
10 Mar 2015

Serekaniye, Syria
March 10, 2015

An American and a German fighter have joined the ranks of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (known by the Kurdish acronym YPG) to fight against ISIS. They are positioned outside the majority-Kurdish city of Serekaniye in northeast Syria, known in Arabic as Ras al-Ain, waiting for the next battle to erupt.

The American fighter, who was interviewed and introduced himself as Richard Jones, plans to return to the United States once ISIS is defeated. On the other hand, the German fighter, who goes by the name of Hans Schneider, says he is willing to stay in Rojava – the Syrian part of self-proclaimed Kurdish homeland – after ISIS is pushed out in order to help the Kurds build the country they have long fought to establish.

SHOTLIST AND TRANSCRIPT

Traveling of German fighter identified as Zagros walking with Kurdish fighter
Various of female Kurdish fighters
Various of US fighter Richard Jones and two German fighters identified as Hans Shneider and Zagros
Various of a group of Kurdish fighters
Various of German fighter Hans Shneider walking
Various of US fighter Richard Jones and two German fighters identified as Hans Shneider and Kurdish female fighters

SOUNDBITE (English, Man) Richard Jones, American YPG Fighter
02:49 – 05:48
“Right now we are heading back to the town that we came from. So hopefully everything will go smoothly and it will be safe to ride back. “Right now we’re at one of the bases at the front. We’re at a vantage point on a hill where we can see the villages that Daesh controls. The villages here and here are known areas where Daesh resides. They control these areas. The ground in between, here and there, is contested. Anyone who tries to go into these areas or engage in fighting… hopefully then we can push forward and capture these towns and push ISIS back, eventually pushing all the way to reach Kobani. “I think it is likely. Obviously Daesh wants to do something to show that they are still powerful after losing such a big town as Kobani where all the world was watching. So I do expect Daesh to choose another major area to push in and to attack, to try to show that they still exist and they can still defeat the Kurds. However, I do not fear that Daesh will have a great success here. And I know that the YPG and the YPJ can defend their land. “Interviewer: So, you are ready to defend this area if they start a new attack on Jazeera [area in northeast Syria]?” “Absolutely. If they want to come, I’m ready to fight. “I do. I hope that the international community will see that the Kurds are not just fighting for the place where they live, they are fighting a terrorist organization that goes against the entire world. The fact that they’re here in Rojava does not mean that tomorrow they will not be in another country. We see the attacks in France; we see the attacks all around the world. And we know that ISIS hates these people. They hate everyone that’s not themselves. I do think that the world is obligated to come to assist. Not just for the Kurds to have Rojava, but also so that this terror organization could be defeated. “My name is Richard Jones. I’m from America. I’m here in Rojava to help the Kurdish people fight against ISIS – against Daesh. I’ve been to the front several times and I hope to be able to continue going to the front and fight against Daesh. So far there’s not been much fighting at the front areas. Both sides have been waiting for the other side to make a move. But I do know that soon the fighting will increase and there will be much more action at the frontlines. Interviewer: Are you ready to stay here for a long time?
Absolutely. I’m here to fight against Daesh and I want to stay here as long as Daesh exists. When Daesh is done, when ISIS is finished, then I can go back to America.”

SOUNDBITE (English, Man) Hans Schneider, German YPG Fighter

05:50 - 08:32

“I will not tell you my real name. People call me Hans Schneider; Kurds call me Agit. I came here to help the Kurds in their fight against the terrorists in Rojava. Interview: How long can you stay here?
I can stay as long as I want. I’m young; I’m healthy. I don’t have a home to go back to, so I can stay as long as I need.
Interviewer: Why are you here exactly?
Exactly, I’m here to help the Kurds in their fight against the terrorists and of course to help them fight for their freedom because the Kurds deserve their own country. They have been fighting for a long time and it will go on for a long time, I believe. Yes, I’m here to help them.
Interviewer: The guns that you have with you in the YPG are they enough for you to fight ISIS or do you need more?
When ISIS is out of Rojava, the Kurds will work more on their infrastructure and with things like that I can help them too, of course. To build up their military or build their infrastructure; their logistical system and transport – everything.
Interviewer: Do YPG fighters have enough weapons to fight ISIS or do they need more help from outside?
Yes, they could… It would be better if they could get more help from the outside, like training, equipment, weapons, heavy weapons, equipment like bulletproof vests, every kind of protection, weapons, ammunition, artillery, heavy weapons, everything.

Interviewer: OK, thank you.

And of course, of course… humanitarian help like food and shelter for the poor people and maybe education. You can help the Kurds in every way. Every kind of help is good.
Other countries [should] stand up and start to help the Kurds gain their freedom so that they can improve and build their own country and territory.”

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Kurdish, Arab Forces Retake Strategic...
Tal Hamis
By Bedir
28 Feb 2015

Tal Hamis, Syria
February 28, 2015

On 27 February Kurdish and Arab militias recaptured Tal Hamis from ISIS, a town located in the Hasaka province of Syria and some 35km south of Qamishli, a major regional city on the Turkish border that has been hotly contested by ISIS and Kurdish forces in recent months.

Fighters involved belong to various Kurdish militias: the People’s Protection Units (YPG); the Women’s Protection Units (YPJ); and the Shengal Resistance Units, in addition to Arab forces known as Jaish al-Sanadid (The Army of the Brave) which are affiliated with the influential Shummar tribal confederation.

Shummar tribes, for their part, inhabit areas that stretch across Syria, Iraq, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. An influential ISIS commander in Raqqa originally from Saudi Arabia, known as Abu Abdullah Daigham, is from one of the Shummar clans.

According to field commanders interviewed in Tal Hamis, ISIS fighters fled strikes on the ground and airstrikes carried out by the international coalition on Tal Hamis before heading to desert areas in the south of Hasaka province. Commanders also said their forces were preparing to take control of the road between Raqqa province in Syria and Mosul province in Mosul, both of which are major ISIS strongholds. Military commanders said that ISIS fighters had been using Tal Hamis to launch artillery and car bomb attacks against neighboring areas.

Tal Hamis had been under ISIS control for a year and a half and most of its civilians, ethnic Arabs, Kurds, Syriacs and Assyrians, have fled to Qamishli.

SHOTLIST

Wide of road; road sign reads “Tal Hamis”
Wide of male and female fighters entering Tal Hamis
Various of lettering on walls in Kurdish and Arabic apparently left by Kurdish ISIS fighters
Wide of lettering on the wall “There is no God but Allah. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant”  
Various of lettering on walls in Kurdish and Arabic apparently left by Kurdish ISIS fighters
Moving shot of room interior – ISIS flag on the wall
Moving shot of combat fatigues scattered on the floor
Close-up of what appears to be a logbook left by Kurdish ISIS fighters
Lettering on the wall in Kurdish; lettering in English reads “Be careful of our sniper Abu Dujana Al-Kindy 143/4/2014”
Interview with Assi Dahham, commander of Jaish al-Sanadid commander (SOUNDBITE)
Various of two fighters inspecting destroyed tank
Wide of YPG convoy
Interview with Idris Qamishlo (nom de guerre), YPG Commander (SOUNDBITE)
Interview with Sarhad Hemo (now de guerre), YPG fighter (SOUNDBITE)
Traveling of grain silos
Wide of Kurdish fighters inspecting ammunition(SOUNDBITE)
Various of fighters near destroyed buildings
Wide/ R-L traveling of buildings and YPG flags
R-L traveling of town

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Fighters and Civilians Celebrate Kurd...
Countryside of Al-Qamishli
By Bedir
23 Feb 2015

People’s Protection Units (YPG) are advancing near Qamishli and have already retaken over 25 villages in military operations against ISIS all throughout Syria. The YPG began a military campaign about two days ago against villages and urban centers controlled by ISIS located in rural areas to the south of Qamishli.

The military operation continues for the third consecutive day with the support of coalition air forces. With their help, the YPG were able to liberate dozens of villages.
This operation was well received by both the Arab and Kurdish inhabitants of these villages, who both demonstrated their support when the YPG entered their villages to free them from the control of ISIS, which is restricting them and denying them their freedom.

Soundbites

(Arabic, man) Ali al-Hameed, Arab YPG fighter:
“Our goal is to rid all the villages in the area of ISIS; the YPG are quickly advancing. We are all brothers in fighting ISIS.

(Kurdish, man) Hoker Hussein, Kurdish fighter:
“We are here to avenge our martyrs who died in previous battles in Tilhamis. We get our strength and determination from the blood of the martyrs and the support of our people and, thanks to them, we shall win against ISIS.”

(Kurdish, woman) Mother of female fighter:
“We are here today to show loyalty to the blood of our martyrs. We have a good spirit and we have complete faith in our victory and that we are going to liberate our area from ISIS.”

(Kurdish, man) Idris Taher Aziz, Kurdish civilian from the village of Kherbet Jehash:
“When ISIS came close to our villages, we escaped their violent assaults. Now we have decided to return to our village after it was liberated by the YPG. We are happy to return home and, thanks to the YPG, life is slowly getting back to normal.”

(Arab, man) Majeed al-Habib, an Arab from the village of Bazoona:
“ISIS treated us horribly. They used to implement tough laws; they banned us from smoking; they forced women to wear the Niqab; and threatened our religious sites in the village. When the YPG entered and liberated us, we were very happy and welcomed them.”

(Kurdish, man): Nori, Kurdish fighter:

“When you look at those documents and papers, you see strange laws and regulations, as if you were living 2000 years before this time. It really indicates how retrograde their mentality is and how much suffering they have imposed on people. We have 7 ISIS fighters’ corpses, some are Arabs, some are foreigners. One had a Saudi flag, indicating the Saudi identity of some of them.”

Shotlist

Interviews with the fighters and shots of the liberated villages.
Shots of the liberated villages and their civilians
Interviews with the civilians
Shots of YPG’s military forces
Various of remnants, documents and possessions presumably left by left behind by ISIS fighters, including Saudi Arabia flag
Various of Nori, the fighter, speaking
Various of ISIS fighters corpses being held by the YPG

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Fighters and Civilians Celebrate Kurd...
Countryside of Al-Qamishli
By Bedir
23 Feb 2015

NOTE Graphic scenes were removed from this video. If you are interested in obtaining them please contact Transterra Media.

People’s Protection Units (YPG) are advancing near Qamishli and have already retaken over 25 villages in military operations against ISIS all throughout Syria. The YPG began a military campaign about two days ago against villages and urban centers controlled by ISIS located in rural areas to the south of Qamishli.

The military operation continues for the third consecutive day with the support of coalition air forces. With their help, the YPG were able to liberate dozens of villages.
This operation was well received by both the Arab and Kurdish inhabitants of these villages, who both demonstrated their support when the YPG entered their villages to free them from the control of ISIS, which is restricting them and denying them their freedom.

Soundbites

(Arabic, man) Ali al-Hameed, Arab YPG fighter:
“Our goal is to rid all the villages in the area of ISIS; the YPG are quickly advancing. We are all brothers in fighting ISIS.

(Kurdish, man) Hoker Hussein, Kurdish fighter:
“We are here to avenge our martyrs who died in previous battles in Tilhamis. We get our strength and determination from the blood of the martyrs and the support of our people and, thanks to them, we shall win against ISIS.”

(Kurdish, woman) Mother of female fighter:
“We are here today to show loyalty to the blood of our martyrs. We have a good spirit and we have complete faith in our victory and that we are going to liberate our area from ISIS.”

(Kurdish, man) Idris Taher Aziz, Kurdish civilian from the village of Kherbet Jehash:
“When ISIS came close to our villages, we escaped their violent assaults. Now we have decided to return to our village after it was liberated by the YPG. We are happy to return home and, thanks to the YPG, life is slowly getting back to normal.”

(Arab, man) Majeed al-Habib, an Arab from the village of Bazoona:
“ISIS treated us horribly. They used to implement tough laws; they banned us from smoking; they forced women to wear the Niqab; and threatened our religious sites in the village. When the YPG entered and liberated us, we were very happy and welcomed them.”

(Kurdish, man): Nori, Kurdish fighter:

“When you look at those documents and papers, you see strange laws and regulations, as if you were living 2000 years before this time. It really indicates how retrograde their mentality is and how much suffering they have imposed on people. We have 7 ISIS fighters’ corpses, some are Arabs, some are foreigners. One had a Saudi flag, indicating the Saudi identity of some of them.”

Shotlist

Interviews with the fighters and shots of the liberated villages.
Shots of the liberated villages and their civilians
Interviews with the civilians
Various of YPG’s military forces
Various of remnants, documents and possessions, including flag of Saudi Arabia, presumably left behind by ISIS
Various of Nori, the fighter, speaking

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Swedish Journalist Reflects on His De...
Al Qamishli
By Bedir
22 Feb 2015

Qamishli, Syria

February 22, 2015

Swedish journalist Joakim Medin talks about his four-day detention in a Syrian government prison in the vicinity of Qamishli, a town in Kurdish Syria he was covering as a freelancer. Arrested at a government checkpoint when he failed to produce a visa, he explains that very few journalists travel to Syria with the necessary legal documentation. Despite the relatively harsh conditions of his confinement - his cell was cold, dark and dirty - Medin says he was treated much better than other prisoners. He finishes by stressing the broader context of the battle of ideas - in addition to the brutal physical struggle - that is still being waged for the future Syria and Iraq - the right of people to live and work their land; the right of religious minorities to practice their faith. This is why journalists must continue to cover these areas in person, even if at times that means doing so without a visa.

TRANSCRIPT AND SHOTLIST

SOUNDBITE (English, Man) Joakim Medin, Swedish Reporter Detained by Syrian Government Forces
00:00

“We were walking down the street down in central Qamishli, on the 15th of February. On this day a lot of people stay away from, from their jobs and closed down their shops and so on, because it was a special memorial day, because of the arrest of Abdullah Ocalan on the same day in 1999. There was not so much people and movement, but this same day soldiers of the Syrian government also, for some reason put up a temporary roadblock or checkpoint just outside the government post office of Qamishli. They were stopping cars and checking people. When we passed this checkpoint on the sidewalk, they immediately arrested us and… and in a prisoners’ car and drove us to the local police station nearby. They accused me of not having a visa, a Syrian visa despite being there. “They put us in prison and I was told that they had to investigate this thing out. I explained that yes, this is correct I did not have a visa because this is the way journalists get into this area; an area of Syria that’s been heavily transformed and affected by the war with Daesh [ISIS] erasing the borders. So of course I didn’t have a visa unfortunately. I was told that in a matter of hours – one hour, five hours, ten hours – this matter would be resolved. “You have to stay in prison for this period of time.” However, these hours turned into days.

02:13
“I was treated much differently and better than the other inmates – the other prisoners – they accused the others of being sympathisers with Daesh. They were treated well at all. The situation with them was really bad. But I was locked in a tiny isolation cell. I was isolated from the other prisoners. There was no light, no access to fresh water. It was dirty and I had to sleep on the concrete floor. It was difficult. It was very different from the conditions of prisons in my country. Still, I was better treated. I was not seen as the other prisoners. I could go… I had access to the toilet. After four days, things suddenly changed. They drove an ambulance to the front of the building and we had to get in…”
Interviewer: “Why did they use an ambulance and not a normal car?”
“To get to the airport and not to be seen… I don’t know. We were handcuffed and blindfolded and they drove to the airport where we took a plane to Damascus under other identities. We did not fly under our real name but under false names. I was a 25-year-old man from Spain. Then we came to Damascus and I was imprisoned in the center of one the branches of Syrian intelligence.”

04:05
Interviewer: “And what about the situation in Damascus?”
“In Damascus the situation was sometimes similar. For example, there were also very small cells. [I was] locked in isolation. I wasn’t able to speak to anyone. I had access to nothing, no possessions.” Interviewer: “Did you see any ambassador as they promised you?”
“No, there was no ambassador. When I asked there was no response, really.” Interviewer: “What was the kind of questions?”
“Soon the interrogation…. It was about the cells… We were blindfolded and taken to different rooms where there people asking questions or reading information from a laptop for example. The questions were about why I came. The questions were targeting mainly why I came to Syria without a visa, and I explained to them that this was the only way I thought [I could] this area to be able to report. There were three subjects that I was here to report about: the situation of women, the situation of Christians, and the Kurds and the Yezidis fighting Daseh six months after the massacre in Shingal. “But soon these questions turned into more focus on whether I had some sort of assistance from Turkey and Israel to enter Syria. I explained that this was not the case. I was helped by these foreign countries.” Interviewer: “Have you been threatened in prison, that they will kill you?”
“No, but I felt unconformable. The days kept going and there was no information about… if my embassy was contacted, or if I can contact my family. They specifically said: “No, you cannot contact your family.”
Interviewer: And then what happened?
“Well, until yesterday at lunchtime, still… at least I thought it was very uncertain about what will happen. Still, there was no information. Still, a lot of questions, especially about Israel. Still kept in cells… and suddenly in the afternoon something happened. We were again told that we will fly away from Damascus using, again, false identities. We had to repeat these names over and over. We were told that will go back to Qamishli to be imprisoned there. That afternoon we were blindfolded again and driven in some sort of van with black windows to the airport, where we took a [civilian] plane again and came back to Qamishli. “First we were taken to the same regime prison in Qamishli, and the treatment somehow changed. They were acting different, more hospitable in a way. It was obvious that something had happened. They were very nice and polite. Interviewer: “In your opinion, what happened?”
“Well, we found out a bit later when we were taken to different offices to meet with a lot of people [whose] names we didn’t get, really. I don’t remember them. Suddenly we came to an office where the flag on the wall changed from the Syrian one [to that] of the YPG. That’s when at least I suddenly realized, “Ah! Suddenly we’re safe.” Just like this. Up until the last minute, I had no idea what was going to happen at all. I had no assurance at all about what was happening. “So we were told… we met with Redor Khalil, the spokesperson of the YPG, who told us that the Kurdish forces and the Kurdish administration in the region have been deploying forces and putting pressure on the Syrian government basically from the very beginning to let us go, and when this diplomacy – if you can call it [as such] – failed because of continued misinformation, I guess, then one or several high-ranking officers in the Syrian army – Syrian government army – were arrested by the YPG. Then there was a question of exchanging prisoners. And also, there was the threat of how the YPG would eventually intervene against the government-controlled airport outside Qamishli and basically stop all traffic unless we got released. This pressure eventually… well we got taken back from Damascus to Qamishli, which is not a normal process to happen this fast. And we got released.

10:03
“I and many others still think that this is something… what’s happening here with the… the social situation changes in Syria… the fight against Daesh, the fight to make people stay on their own land, in their own homes, the fight for minorities to stay in their own homes and not be ethnically cleansed by Daesh, the fight for many ideas and things and the war on that… I mean if we want anyone in the world to know about this, any people, we must be able to go. Sometimes it means that you come without a visa, unfortunately. “This is one of the few areas in Syria where we see social mobilization to protect the society in… in… it could stay the way it is not to make it collapse, but at the same time transform it into something better in the meantime. So I think if we want to see the region to be safe to report from and inside, and also see maybe an example of what Syria can like with stability, then this is one of these regions. I think it’s very important to keep coming here to report for the sake of all of Syria.”

11:33
Various of Joachim Medin with Sabri Omar, the interpreter who was arrested with him

Various of Joachim Medin indoors

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Villagers return to Kobanî 25
Kobanî, Syria
By Bedir
17 Feb 2015

Rashad Muslim at his house in the village of Qera Mag after returning with his family. Rashad Muslim's family was the first to return to the village after it was recaptured from ISIS by Kurdish YPG and YPJ forces.

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Villagers return to Kobanî 22
Kobanî, Syria
By Bedir
16 Feb 2015

Destroyed military vehicles in Qera Mag village, east of Kobane.

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Villagers return to Kobanî 23
Kobanî, Syria
By Bedir
16 Feb 2015

Destroyed military vehicles in Qera Mag village, east of Kobane.

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Villagers return to Kobanî 24
Kobanî, Syria
By Bedir
16 Feb 2015

Destroyed military vehicles in Qera Mag village, east of Kobane.

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Villagers return to Kobanî 21
Kobanî, Syria
By Bedir
16 Feb 2015

Rockets in front of a house in Qera mag village, east of Kobane.

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Villagers return to Kobanî 18
Kobanî, Syria
By Bedir
16 Feb 2015

Children from the Rashad Muslim family, the first family to return to the village of Qera Mag after liberated it was recaptured by YPG and YPJ fighters, play inside their garden. Qara Mag is located east of Kobane and its recapture was part of an ongoing operation to recapture Kobane's surrounding villages from ISIS.

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Villagers return to Kobanî 17
Kobanî, Syria
By Bedir
16 Feb 2015

A child from the Rashad Muslim family climbs a wall at his house wall.

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Villagers return to Kobanî 14
Kobanî, Syria
By Bedir
16 Feb 2015

A Kurdish man brings home bread his village of Qera mag, east of Kobane.

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Villagers return to Kobanî 15
Kobanî, Syria
By Bedir
16 Feb 2015

A Kurdish man stands beside a YPG check point in the village of Qera Mag, east of Kobane.

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Villagers return to Kobanî 16
Kobanî, Syria
By Bedir
16 Feb 2015

A child from the Rashad Muslim family climbs a wall at his house wall.

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Villagers return to Kobanî 12
Kobanî, Syria
By Bedir
16 Feb 2015

General view of Qera Mag village. East Kobane city, Qera Mag was recently recaptured by from ISIS by YPG and YPJ fighters.

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Villagers return to Kobanî 13
Kobanî, Syria
By Bedir
16 Feb 2015

A Kurdish man protects his village of Qera mag, east of Kobane.

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Villagers return to Kobanî 10
Kobanî, Syria
By Bedir
17 Feb 2015

YPG fighter plays with child from the Rashad Muslim family in the freshly recaptured village of Qara Maga.

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Villagers return to Kobanî 11
Kobanî, Syria
By Bedir
17 Feb 2015

Rashad Muslim serves tea in the garden of his home.

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Villagers return to Kobanî 08
Kobanî, Syria
By Bedir
17 Feb 2015

Members of the Rashad Muslim family stand next to a YPG fighter.