Tags / Damascus
May 31, 2014
al-Hajar al-Aswad, Damascus, Syria
Residents in the southern Damascus suburb of al-hajar al-Aswad give their opinion on the Syrian Presidential Election. Many of them voice disdain at the electoral process and declare their intention to boycott the election.
Samer, FSA fighter:
"What elections! There are elections in Syria? We haven’t heard of any elections? Do we even have electricity to hear about elections? Explosions, barrel bombs, firing and shooting, that’s the area of al-Hajar al-Aswad, no food, nothing. We need two hours to get a bit of water and you are asking me about elections."
Abu Hussein, Citizen:
"Unethical, Illegal elections do not relate to any Syrian citizen. The killing that happened here in Syria is not acceptable to anybody and we are against the elections in every way possible. Any person who votes is considered an enemy of religion and humanity in honor of the lives that were taken here in Syria and the properties that were destroyed over the heads of their owners."
Abu Arab, FSA commander:
"The elections are a big failure. The Syrian regime represented by Bashar al-Assad is illegitimate, and has been illegitimate for over 40-50 years, not only now. We don't want elections, we want Bashar’s head."
Abu Mohamad, Citizen:
"I will not vote for anybody, ever."
Interviewer: Why won’t you vote?
"My children are all dead, who would I vote for and why."
Ammar Issa, Surgeon:
"What elections are you talking about with the barrel bombs dropping everyday, the hunger that we have been suffering from for over a year and a half, the million and a half refugees, and the nine million internally displaced Syrians? What elections are you talking about?"
Saddam al-Zir, FSA fighter:
"Through all of this fear and all that is happening he [Bashar al-Assad] is sieging people, starving them, and dropping barrel bombs. He is forcing people to vote for him, but elections don’t happen that way, the country has to be in complete peace for elections to happen in a legitimate way."
"This election is an historic scandal. How will it happen when 90% of Syrian territory is out of the regime’s control? There are ten million refugees and six million internal refugees, what elections are they talking about?"
"It is weird that while they say there are elections going on, we are still getting barrel bombs dropped on us. We are still suffering from shelling and bombing, how can there be elections in a country that lacks safety, security, and justice and where thugs attack the weak? If any elections are happening it is a lie, a big lie. Many people are now refugees and many men are imprisoned, but no matter what, Bashar will be taken down. Even if he wins these elections, he will be taken down."
Ahmed, FSA fighter:
He [Bashar al-Assad] will definitely win this election, but we do not acknowledge him or his government."
"This election is a lie. All we have is barrel bombs dropped on us, raped women in prisons, blood and killing. We don’t acknowledge him [Bashar al-Assad] or his government."
May 31, 2014
Syrians rally in the al-Shaalan and Sheikh Saad areas of Damascus to show their support for Bashar al-Assad.
Assad supporter, No name given:
“We are out here today to ensure the concept of democracy and to confirm the principle of political pluralism. This political pluralism was established by the new constitution and voted for by all the people. Today we want to raise our voices and say that we support the leader, the president Bashar Hafez al-Assad, the one who protected our land and our dignity. We will sand by his side until the last moment and we support him fully.”
Assad supporter, No name given:
“We are out here today to support our Syrian brothers and sisters in foreign countries. The Syrians living in the European countries weren’t allowed to vote, but they still voted for the President through their parades and demonstrations. It is not only about filling the voting ballot, their support was demonstrated in the streets”
Assad supporter, No name given:
(Interpretation of a Poem)
“Bashar al-Assad is one of a kind. No leader like him has ever existed. He can reach out to any enemy and punish him. Those who do not obey al-Assad will be punished and whoever isn’t aware of who Bashar al-Assad can ask Obama or the Gulf countries and he will be informed”
May 31, 2014
Video shows night shots of the Souq al-Hamidiyya historic market in the old city of Damascus. Shoppers are asked their opinions on the Syrian Presidential Election.
Ali Hijazi, Coffee Shop Worker:
"Concerning the social situation, it seems normal, the streets are crowded and it is improving rapidly. Shops and cafes are receiving customers, people are out at all times, nine, ten, even after eleven and twelve you can still find people outside. Everything is improving, and now it is summer, so people go out more. Tourism has decreased, but still the situation is improving."
Abu Ibrahim, Visitor from Qamishli:
"I am from Qamishli, I came to Damascus and brought my son to visit a doctor. We have been hearing from biased TV channels that the situation in Damascus at night is scary and there is bombing and shelling. However, here we are and we haven’t seen any of that, the situation is very calm and normal."
"First of all I want to salute Damascus and our President, and I want to note that all people are happy and out on the streets at night. There is nothing to worry about and I sincerely hope the situation will improve more because there is nothing as amazing as Damascus. May God protect our president."
"Everything is fine, we are outside, it is 9:30 at night now and there is nothing to worry about. If any uncomfortable situation was sensed we wouldn’t have gone out at night."
لجنة الحوار الوطني تدعو إلى عقد مؤتمر يجمع كل السوريين 17-05-2014 سوريا ،دمشق
شرح القصة: دعت لجنة الحوار الوطني السوري قوى المعارضة السورية للاشتراك في حوار جاد لإخراج البلاد من ازمتها، واعتبرت اللجنة أن فشل مؤتمر جنيف يدعو السوريين إلى الإسراع في عقد مؤتمر حوار سوري-سوري. اللجنة شددت في مؤتمرها الصحفي على أن الانتخابات الرئاسية هي أمر سيادي سوري
طارق الأحمد - عضو المعارضة الداخلية فيصل عزوز – عضو مجلس الشعب السوري ماهر كرم - ممثل حزب التضامن العربي الديمقراطي
The committee of national dialogue is calling for a conference to unite all Syrians on 17-05-2014, in Syria, Damascus.
The Syrian national dialogue committee has invited the opposition to contribute in a serious discussion to solve the crisis. The committee gave considered the failure of the Geneva conference is calling Syrian to hurry in the making on a Syrian-Syrian conference. The committee has stressed in the press conference that presidential elections are a Syrian concern.
Faysal Azouz: A member in the insider opposition.
Maher Karam: A member in the Syrian parliament.
Representative of the Arab Democratic Solidarity Party.
May 4, 2014
The Supreme Constitutional Court of Syria has accepted the names of three candidates for the presidential election on June 3, 2014.
Court spokesman Majida Khadra announced the names today in Damascus. They are Bashar al-Assad, Maher Abdul-Hafiz and Hassan Abdullah al-Nouri.
The final confirmation of the candidates will be announced after May 7th, 2014, allowing time for prospective candidates who were rejected by the court to submit complaints.
Footage filmed in 2014 documents the collapse of medical care at the Palestinian Hospital run by the Palestinian Red Crescent Society in Yarmouk, under siege by Government forces since June 2013.
Included are street shots, shots inside a medical facility, shots of the wounded being treated, and interviews with medical volunteers and doctors.
Male hospital worker:
Because of the suffocating siege on the camp for more than a year and not having any medical materials and equipment or medical staff we are trying to use alternatives, but these field alternatives are becoming rare day after day, and for the sterilization, we are using materials intended for veterinary use.
Female hospital worker:
The camp lacks a medical staff as a whole. The number of doctors before the siege of the camp was more than 3,000. Many died as a result of the bombing that targeted the camp. The most prominent doctor killed was Dr. Ahmed Hassan. Some of the volunteers had gained experience as a result of working with him, but not enough to address this patients. Moreover, many doctors were arrested at the checkpoints in beginning of the siege of the camp.
The reportage is about the most famous milk shake bar in Damascus, even in whole Syria. It is called Abu Shakir and is situated in downtown of Damascus, close to Parliament or Yousef al-Azmeh Square. Adnan al-Omari, also known as Abu Shakir, started his job in 1953 and still keeps his shop, but he is only supervisor now. His two sons are the main caretakers of the family business. There is economic crisis in Syria but Syrians still come to his place to buy fresh juices, shakes and fruit salads.
Adnan al-Omari - the original owner of shop
Muhammad al-Omari - his son, one of two responsible persons
The video was made in front of juice bar Abu Shakir.
Street in front of Abu Shakir
Muhammad al-Omari + his crew
Bananas hanging over window
Customers eating a cream
“Firstly, my father was the first juice maker in Syria. He started squeezing oranges, grapefruits, grapes and other kinds of fruit. But manually, not by electrical machines. “
Old photographs of Adnan al-Omari
“I was working with my dad from 1953 I was in third grade of primary school. I kept this interest and work next to my father. Firstly it was carrot juice, then apple juice and banana shake. Then I continued working between manually or mechanically squeezed juice and then cocktails.”
Adnan al-Omari posing with old photograph
Muhammad al-Omari preparing drinks
Customer drinking a cocktail
Abu Hamzeh posing with cocktails
Detail of Muhammad al-Omari
“We started with banana milk shakes and my dad brought me the cocktail milk machine and he used to bring me 4 to 5 kilos of bananas every day. I used them all and when customers came and ask for it, I had no one. So I asked: “What about another fruit cocktail?” They asked me: “What fruit?“ “Apples, carrot, oranges, grapes, bananas, and others. Try it! They happily drunk it and liked it. “
Adnan al-Omari and Abu Hamzeh speaking inside of the juice bar
“From the time of my father, the most important think was hygiene and generousness. Naturally we have to think about hygiene. If every customer wants extra bananas, we will give him extra bananas, even we give him extra glass of cocktail, it will be on us. “
Detail of fruit salads and cocktail with sour cream
“My children work in the business now and brought something new there, like adding qishteh, honey, sour cream, nestle and so on. They do good job.”
Customers inside of juice bar
“The taste is most important thing. And dealing with people.”
People in front of Abu Shakir
“We build our business also on natural and fresh juices whatever it costs. The fruits, what we use, they are from market. Every day I buy and process. We don´t store it, I buy it every day.”
Crew of Abu Shakir
“The volume of sugar and ice depends on customer. We keep fruits in fridge.”
Detail of old photograph
“We tried to make prices a little bit higher, cause prices of fruits got higher. For long years we are keeping the highest possible quality and low prices.”
Muhammad al-Omari in his juice bar
“There are no foreigners. Our customers are diverse - kids, adults… All kind of people.”
Adnan al-Omari in front of juice bar
“All juices what we have, all of them are wholesome for people. No matter if it is carrot juice, orange juice, apple juice, mixed cocktails from banana and fruits or banana shake with qishteh. People in the world are drinking fizzy drinks, which are not healthy at all. I have everything, juices are full of fruits.”
Detail of place in front of juice bar
“Everything is clean and fresh. Why you should drink fizzy drink and don´t drink juice? I don´t search for better business, thanks God we are well. I would like to give an advice that there is no better drink than fresh juice.”
Customer eating sour cream
“I work here 22 years, from my childhood. And I work with my father.”
Muhammad al-Omari decorating the cocktails
“I like simple juices. For example, orange or banana. Or made from two kinds like orange and banana or three kinds like orange, apple and banana. “
Detail of place in front of juice bar
Damascus, Al Salhiye district, Hamra street in central Syria, is a city that has not witnessed the scale of violence in other parts of Syria, due to being under complete control of the government. However, the economic situation there is still dire. Despite this fact, on the eve of February 14, the much-loved Valentine's Day, the streets appear normal and prepared to supply to citizens of Damascus with the traditional surfeit of pink bears, red hearts, and roses in an array of colors. In the country embroiled in a a civil war, shop owners can be seen preparing for the holida, arranging flowers, teddy bears, hearts and chocolates in their windows and stalls. While interviews with one stall owner paints a peaceful picture in the capital, saying, "We are celebrating Valentine's Day as we do each year," adding, "There are people who are falling in love and hopefully things will be fine with the supervision of President Bashar Al-Assad." In contrast, in another interview, another man disagrees that things are normal on February 14. "Love went missing in Syria," he says.
TRANSLATION OF INTERVIEWS
Despite the war and the bad circumstances of the country, we are celebrating Valentine's Day as we do each year. There are people who are falling in love and hopefully things will be fine with the supervision of President Bashar Al-Assad, and with the protection of the army. As you can see, the situation is safe.
People are still living their lives, and as you see, the market is full with the gifts of the day of love. Our love to our country is the best festivity in the world. This flower in my hand, I offer it to the Arabic Syrian Army, my country, my leader, and everything beautiful in my country.
People have experienced sorrows in their homes, and have suffered from familial and financial crises, so Valentine is bad today. Every year we used to celebrate and party. People used to love each other. Love went missing in Syria.
Shot list :
Various shots of Damascus streets that shows shops selling Valentine gifts
Various shots of shops selling flowers for Valentine
Shots of syrian shops with Valentine decoration
Shots of people buying valentine gifts
Shots of people walking on the streers
Bab Al Jabiya neighborhood in Old Damascus, Syria
The ongoing Syrian civil war resulted in the deaths of more than 150 thousand people
Those numbers pushed the demand for headstones to rise. There is another facet to the war in Syria where a group of people saw themselves getting more work and revenue despite the financial hardship experienced by most of the Syrian people. You can find in the Bab Al Jabiya souk several workshops where they make headstones of various shapes and sizes depending on the financial situation of the family. Due to the financial hardship that many people are facing in Syria the sizes of the headstones are shrinking.
Interviews / Translated Transcription:
Mo'taz Al Aytouni, Headstones workshop owner:
"The demand is small, before the turnout was good but the high prices of the materials used and the distress experienced by the people led in replacing large tomb stones with smaller ones. There is a demand but from what we keep hearing there should be a much higher demand."
Samer, headstone sculpter/carver: "This line of work depends on the hammer. Drilling on the marble carving and the presence of decorations on the headstones is expensive."
Ziad, works in marble inscription:
"Before the events death was unusual but since the war started there is an increased demand and therefor there is a lot of work."
1 - footage of stores that sell headstones in Bab Jabiya, in Old Damascus
2 - footage of the process of inscription
3 - a snapshot of the process of writing and planning before you start engraving
4 - footage of the shops during the manufacturing of tombstones
5 - Marble parts in different sizes before the process of drilling and engraving
6 - Shots of headstones in the cemetery in Jabiya district, one of the largest cemeteries in Damascus
عنوان القصة: زيادة الطلب على شواهد القبور
تاريخ الإنتاج 20 -03-2014
موقع التصوير: حي باب الجابية وسط دمشق القديمة .
شرح القصة: خلفت الحرب التي لا تزال مشتعلة في مختلف مناطق سوريا ما يزيد عن 150 الف قتيل. هذا العداد الكبير من المتوفين زاد من الطلب على شواهد القبور. في سوق باب الجابية وسط دمشق القديمة وبالقرب من مقبرة باب صغير توجد عدة محال تعمل في نقش شواهد القبور، وهي عبارة عن قطع رخامية يختلف حجمها تبعاً لمقدرة طالبها المالية، يكتب عليها اسم المتوفي وتاريخ ولادته ووفاته إضافة الى بعض الآيات القرآنية وبعض العبارات. هذا القطاع العمالي يشهد انتعاشا رغم الأزمة الاقتصادية الخانقة في سوريا، نتيجة استمرار الحرب السورية والارتفاع في عدد القتلى وبالتالي الطلب المتزايد على شواهد القبور للموتى, الا ان العاملين في هذا المجال يقولون انهم يعملون على تصغير حجم الشواهد لخفض الكلفة بسبب الدائقة المالية التي يعاني منها المواطنون.
1 - معتز الايتوني – صاحب محل لبيع شواهد القبور
" الإقبال بسيط ، قبل فترة كان الإقبال جيد ، ولكن ارتفاع اسعار المواد وحالة الضيق الذي يعيشها الشعب دفعت الى الاستغناء عن الشواهد الكبيرة بشواهد صغيرة الحجم ، ومع ذلك هناك طلب ولكن حسب ما بنسمع كان يجب يكون الطلب اكبر ".
2- سامر – عامل حفر على الرخام لنقش شواهد القبور
" تعتمد هذه المصلحة على المطرقة والزميل ويتم الحفر على الرخام بطريقة الحفر الغاطس والنافر ، ووجود زخارف على شواهد القبور مكلفة ". 3- زياد - عامل في محل لنقش الرخام
" قبل الأحداث كان حالات الوفيات عادية ، ولكن خلال الأحداث هناك زيادة على الطلب وبذلك هناك زيادة بالعمل وكل محال السوق تعمل ". لائحة اللقطات: ( شرح غير تفصيلي لمجموعة اللقطات بالفيديو) 1 - لقطات لمحال بيع شواهد القبور في حي باب الجابية وسط دمشق القديمة .
2 - لقطات لعملية نقش شاهدت قبر كبيرة
3 - لقطة لعملية الكتابة والتخطيط قبل بدء النقش
4 - لقطات لمحال يتم حفر وتصنيع شواهد القبور
5- قطع رخام مختلفة الأحجام قبل عملية الحفر والنقش
6- لقطات لشواهد قبور في مقبرة باب صغير بحي باب الجابية وهي من اكبر مقابر العاصمة دمشق
A video showing clashes in Damascus' eastern Jobar neighborhood between the Syrian forces and the Free Syrian Army (FSA) as well as opposition fighters firing rockets on regime held areas in the capital. The video also shows the destruction of an army tank on the southern highway.
The FSA says it destroyed buildings hosting government personnel and security forces. A field commander also claims that FSA soldiers were struck by chemical weapons launched by government forces as they were advancing towards the capital on April 4, 2014.
The FSA says it 'liberated' the Jobar police station and surrounded buildings only 400 meters from central Damascus' Abbasid Square.
Abu Mahmood - Field Commander in Ajnad Al-Sham of the Islamic Coalition: "Thanks to God we were able to destroy the building that held the regime’s forces on the Jobar front, including two buildings where around 250 shabihas were residing. There was also another building on the new highway that held around 75 shabihas. We also liberated the Jobar police station."
Abu Mouhammad - Deputee Commander in Haroun Al Rasheed Brigade: "The reason we launched the Jobar offensive was to lighten up the pressure on other fronts. There is the East Ghouta battle and the Kassab battle. We are trying to ease the pressure there on our comrades by starting this battle here. We are advancing towards Jobar, towards regime positions. The regime used chemical weapons again. Some of my comrades are wounded because of the chemical strike. We liberated the police station and the southern command center. We are advancing on the Qaboun front in northern Jobar and hopefully, if God is willing, we will advance on the capital".
الإسم – الصفة: ابو محمود قائد ميداني بالاتحاد الاسلامي لاجناد الشام
الإسم – الصفة: ابو محمد نائب قائد لواء هارون الرشيد
يستمر تقدم الجيش الحر باتجاه العاصمة السورية دمشق.
هذا الفيديو من حي جوبر في دمشق يظهر اشتباكات عنيفة بين الجيش السوري النظامي والجيش الحر حيث اطلق مقاتلو المعارضة صواريخ باتجاه المناطق الخاضعة لسيطرة الحكومة في قلب العاصمة دمشق.
الجيش الحر اعلن عن اسقاط مبان قال ان عدد كبير من جنود الجيش السوري يتحصن داخلها. كما يظهر الفيديو استهداف دبابة تابعة للجيش النظامي على طريق المتحلق الجنوبي المؤدي الى قلب دمشق.
ويقول قادة ميدانيين في الجيش الحر ان التقدم في حي جوير دفع النظام الى استخدام صواريخ تحتوي على غازات سامة ومواد كيميائية الاسبوع الفائت وتحديدا يوم الخميس في الرابع من نيسان.
الجيش الحر قال إنه تمكن من تحرير مخفر جوبر ليصبح على بعد 400 متر من ساحة العباسيين اضافة لتحرير المباني المحيطة بالمخفر
In the poorest neighborhoods, refugees can find a small room for 100/200Tl (40/80$)/month. Sometimes refugees occupy empty houses. Life here is very hard in these situations because the rooms usually do not have heating and running water. The situation is very bad and they wonder why nobody does anything.
The hygienic situation in the poorest buildings is bad. There is no heating or drinkable water. In this building, every family rents a room no larger than 25 square meters and usually has only a small window. The restructuring plan of Erdogan aims to destroy this old building and erect a new one that Syrian refugees could not afford rent.
Often families have been forced to separate due to the war. Many mothers and wives have sons and husbands who fight in a war. Women are often left to take care of the children and fend for themselves while the men remain in Syria. Some of these woman are forced to walk several kilometers everyday to pick up the aid distributed by the associations. Syrian Women in need often complain that after an initial effort on behalf of both the Turkish government and the international associations, they were left to their own devices.
35 year old Mahmoud (not his real name) escaped from Aleppo after being wounded and having surgery on his stomach. He came to live in a room with his family in Istanbul. He cannot work or walk very well.
"We were escaping from Aleppo and a rocket fell close to the car. Splinters exploded and struck me in my stomach and the leg. When I arrived to Turkey, in the center, they fixed my wounds. Thank God I survived, but now the situation is very bad, we are left to ourselves and we don't know what the future holds. I think I want to go back to my country when the war ends, I have my land in Syria. Inshallah."
Children who cannot afford to go to school wander Istanbul's city center seeking handouts or finding illegal jobs where they are exploited. Many children work up to 14 hours per day for little pay.
The situation for Syrians in Turkey is still precarious. Since 2014, several demonstrations against Syrian refugees have taken place. At first welcomed by Erdogan, Syrians were left to their own devises. Those who can, try to immigrate and seek asylum in Europe. However, an increasing number of Syrian refugees are forced to live in limbo while they wait for the war to end and return to their country.
Those who cannot spend too much for the rent share small basements or cellars. Many Syrian refugees cannot work in Turkey because they do not have a residency permit.
Anas, 24 years old, escaped from Aleppo and works as a tailor in Istanbul without any job security. He left his family in Syria and is thinking of going back there to fight against the regime of Bashar al Assad.
A Syrian refugee shows his ID card and describes his arrest and torture at the hands of the Syrian police. On the ID there is a number which indicates which district a person is from. Based on the district, police can often venture a good guess as to a person's religion.
The person in the photo was arrested while coming back from University. According to him, the Police stopped him, checked his ID, and arrested him because he is Sunni. While the uprising in Syria has involved people of all religions and ethnicities, it is largely comprised of Sunni Muslims, who are also Syria's majority population.
Middle class Syrians are able rent a flat for 300/400Tl (125/165$) near the neighborhood affected by the Erdogan's restructuring plan. The plan was set up to re-build some areas of Istanbul. These houses will soon be destroyed to make way for more expensive, modern high rise buildings.
Nahla and her family live in a small house with two bedrooms and a kitchen. There are ten people leaving there with seven children. All of the families fled Damascus. The men of the family work as carpenters or bricklayers to raise the money to pay the rent and food.
Sivan, a 45 year old man from Qamisli, has been in Istanbul with his family for five months and he cannot find a job. He is Syrian-Kurdish and this makes it more difficult to find work in Istanbul. He says he came to Istanbul by bus. Due the fact that he cannot find a job, he is not able to pay his rent. His rent is three months overdue and the the owner of the flat in which he lives in wants to force him out. He does not know where he and his family will do in future.
16 year old Omar is from Hasakeh. He and his family came to Istanbul on foot, helped by a smuggler, after paying 200$ per person.
He does not go to school and works 14 hours per day as a button sewer to raise 150 Tl (65$) per week to help pay the rent of his house.
Farah comes from Damascus and has been in Istanbul for one year. When the war started in Syria she was pregnant. Her husband came to Istanbul and found a job and is able rent a house, which they share with another family. In this neighborhood, far from the touristic center of Istanbul, Turkish people are more polite and help Syrians by giving them food. The Mosque helps refugees by giving them bread and rice.
According to the UNHCR, Syrian children (from 0 to 17 years old) account for about 55% of Syrian refugees in Turkey. Many of them have lived through traumatic events and have witnessed war first hand. Some of them suffer from psychological disorders resulting from what they have witnessed in Syria. Several associations were founded by the Syrian community to try and help Syrian children cope with their trauma, but lack of access to proper care is still a major problem.
One of the first things that the associations try to provide is education. Children in this school continue to study according to the Syrian curriculum. Some books are re-written and passages praising Bashar al Assad are deleted. In this school, Turkish and English are also taught.
A little girl sings a song about war:
"We came to your feast,
Through your celebration we are asking you, why now do we not have any feast?
O World, my land is burned, my free land is stolen. Our sky is dreaming, asking days, where is the beautiful shiny sun?
Where are the pigeons flocks?
My little land, little like me, return peace to it and give us back our childhood,
Give us our childhood,
Give us, give us Peace."
The flag used by the revolutionaries is still hung in all classrooms. Some schools publicly took a stand in support of the Syrian revolution, hanging the flag of the revolution on their walls.
The wall near the Fatih Mosque bears a slogan reading:
"Yesterday Bosnia, today Syria".
The Syrian community seeking shelter in Turkey numbers about 1.5 million people. Syrian refugees try to reestablish their lives in Istanbul, looking to the longterm.
The Syrian community has founded many associations that help Syrian refugees in Istanbul. Near Aksaray, the Syrian Noor Association provides refugees with a doctor and a dentist. Some refugees suffer from post-traumatic Stress disorders, especially young people directly affected by the fighting. However, lack of access to psychological care is still a major problem.
The Syrian Noor Association collects medicine in order to distribute them in the center or to send them every month to Syria. The Turkish Government allows them to do so, but does not help in any way.
Everyday, many refugees come to the center to pick up clothes that the Association and the Mosque have collected for them. Families who flee from Syria usually leave all of their belongings in their homes and arrive in Istanbul with almost nothing.
Refugees come from different social classes. Those who can afford it rent an apartment in Aksaray for 1000Tl ($380) per month and share it with other people. Usually the richer refugees think about escaping to Europe by paying a smuggler, while others decide to stop in Istanbul and invest their money in commercial activities.
After the trip to Istanbul, one of the main problems for Syrian refugees is the language. Some words from the Turkish and Arabic languages are similar, but, due to the nationalism, a dominant characteristic of many Turks, people who speak Arabic are often discriminated.
12 year old Mohammad was found on the streets of Istanbul by the owner of a Syrian restaurant. He and his brother were welcomed by the man, a former computer engineer who escaped the war, and started working as dishwashers in his restaurant. The two boys work 14 hours per day and sleep in a room behind the refrigerator in the kitchen of the restaurant.
Syrian refugees who escape to Istanbul are usually Sunni muslims. Turkey is a predominantly Sunni Muslim country. Politically, Turkey has been traditionally secular. However, the rise of Recip Teyyip Erdogan to power has changed this and Sunni Islam has begun taking a more central role in Turkish social life.
In the beginning, Erdogan helped Syrians in the name of religion and to help generate more votes amongst the Turkish electorate. However, some Syria refugees feel that, while Erdogan is a good muslim man, he does not actually do much to help them.
The cost of Syria's civil war is high, with the human cost well over 100,000. Along with conflict comes the inevitable loss of necessities, such as water, electricity and communication. In this video collection, there are four different videos that show the innovative way people are dealing with this lack of necessities, from the building of a manual water pump to homemade cell phone antennas.
For three years now, rebel militias and the Syrian regime have been fighting each other in a war that has now led to death of at least 146 000 people. Yet, life still goes on in Damascus. People continue to go about their business despite the depreciation of the Syrian pound, the destruction of many industries and a devasted economy. A heavy military presence and traffic, constant power cuts and the distant sound of bombardments have created a surreal atmosphere in neighborhoods controlled by the Syrian regime.
French: Cela fait aujourd’hui 3 ans que la Syrie est plongée dans une terrible guerre civile ayant fait au moins 146 000 morts jusqu’à maintenant. Damas, capitale et bastion central du gouvernement de Bachar Al-Assad, connait plusieurs zones de combats dans ses banlieues. La rébellion syrienne et les nombreux groupes de combattants djihadistes tentent, malgré une grande résistance de l’armée syrienne arabe, de prendre le contrôle de la ville. La bataille de Damas est encore loin d’être terminée.
Pourtant, à quelques kilomètres de ces lignes de front, la vie continue malgré tout à Damas. C’est dans une atmosphère tendue que la population continue de vaguer à ses occupations quotidiennes malgré la chute de la monnaie (livre syrienne), la destruction de nombreuses industries et un secteur économique complètement dévasté par le conflit.
L’omniprésence de l’armée, les embouteillages monstres, les pannes de courants ou encore, les bruits de bombardements en trame sonore viennent créer une ambiance des plus irréelle dans les quartiers tenus par les forces du régime.
Title: Al-Hamidiyya Souk in Damascus
Date: 02/03/2014Location: Damascus, Al Hamidiyya Souk
Description:With the Syrian crisis entering its fourth year, Al-Hamidiyya Souk stays a hub for the shoppers. Al-Hamidiyya Souk is a site where Syria’s diversity is concentrated in a single place. Whoever visits Damascus and doesn’t go to the Souk is as if they didn’t visit the city at all, the oldest inhabited city in History. The Souk that was built hundreds of years ago and hold its current shape since the 17th century, during the reign of the Ottoman Sultan Abd Al-Hamid II.On its side passes the street that is 600 meters long and on its sides you can find 200 shops of different types. The Souk itself is divided into several sub-souks like the silk market, the jewelry market, the tailors’ market and others. It is safe to say that the Syrians invented the Mall hundreds of years ago. Al-Hamidiyya souk saw the first protests in March 2011. The Syrian crisis affected the market and the shoppers are gone. Despite the shops being open, due to the armed clashes that regularly occur in Damascus and its suburbs (country side) the shoppers, especially the tourists that represent a big portion of the market’s income, are not coming anymore, neither are the locals who are afraid after the area was shelled a few times, resulting in several deaths and injuries.
Abu Abdo owner of “The Orientals” shop says: “We are very much so affected by the crisis, work is very slow, specially for my type of business that greatly relies on western and Arab tourists.”
Shopper 1: “The Syrian crisis affected the markets, some people are scared to go out. Also, there are no tourists and the Syrians are using their savings on food and buying only things that they really need.”
Shopper 2: “When it comes to Souk Al-Hamidiyya, the people are scared, it’s not like before when we used to go down and buy what we wanted. Now we buy only what we really need. May God protect Syria."
Shopper 3: "Al-Hamidiyya Souk was where everyone from all areas and provinces would come and buy whatever they wanted, but now the number of shoppers has gone down drastically because of the situation."
Shopper 4: "Before we came here and found the market full of all types of people, people buying, but now there's almost no one, just a few people."
B-Roll: A collection of shots of the Souk and its shops, as well as the shoppers. Shot of the entrance of the marketplace from the Al-Oumawi Mosque side and the ancient ruins that still stand at the gates of the Souk.
The Palestinian refugee camp of Yarmouk in Damascus has been under siege by Syrian Regime forces for 8 months. Along with the constant shelling, the civilian residents were trapped, left starving inside with no access to food.
Translation of Interviews:
Our situation is awful, what more can I say? We have been eating Indomie soup and birds legs (a type of grass/weeds). We call it donkey legs. Even cows don’t eat it. Since the 8th of Ramadan, we have been eating this. I just got a new grandchild and I can't find milk for her. I want to leave, I don’t want to stay here.
My wife was in a critical condition, no doctors, no hospitals were helping. She has high blood pressure, diabetes, and back problems. She's living with no food, we are living with no food, we don't want donations, we just want them to open the barrier.
We're dying from hunger. We have no vegetables, no bread, nothing. Our kids are dying from hunger and dehydration, and I hope God can get us back to where we were.
The situation is very hard and tragic. We are trying to count the people, so any donation or help that comes in, we organize the situation, and try to help the people with anything we can do.
No food, no water, please God, please.
English: Many women and children fled combat zones and found refuge in a Mosque in Damascus.
French: Plusieurs femmes et enfants ayant fui les zones de combats sont venus se refugier dans cette mosquée de Damas.