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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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According to local residents, Houthi Shiite rebels took over the military airport and several neighborhoods in the city on 22 March.

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***DISCLAIMER: HIGHLY GRAPHIC IMAGES, LOW QUALITY IMAGES***

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