Syria - Inside Syria… Three years later:Tal-Biseh (Homs)
A journey into war, inside a country economically and socially destroyed, where those who demanded democracy now fight,not only against the dictatorship of Bashar al-Assad,but also against hundreds of fanatic Islamist groups...
For Pierre Piccinin da Prata, reporter for The Maghreb and Orient Courier, it is a return to the land, where he spent five monthsas a hostage of the al-Farouk Brigades, one of the numerous jihadist groups fighting in Syria. It is a new courageous departure, to againmeet the revolution’s first militants, which he followed in 2011on the misadventure of the Syrian spring.
The first reportage of a series that will bring us deep... inside Syria.
A devastated land, deserted by the Western media, too risky for journalists who are targetsfor the bands of brigands who, under the uniform of rebellion, plunder and ransom people already bled by war but also prey forjihadist factions, sometimes rivals, who seized the land and confiscated the revolution,which the citizens organized through theFree Syrian Army...
A box with a lid, barelyopened by some daring reporters, but suddenly closed again, one day, in the increasingindifference of the worldwide public opinion on Syria, which has almost disappeared entirely from television screens.
It took me several months, almost a year, before I returned to the perilous paths of the Syrian fields.
With the help of friends, those from the very beginnings of civil insurrection, I managed to enter Syria via circuitous routes, which are necessary to guarantee safety as much as possible, limiting the danger and risk of being spotted on such a short journey into this war-ridden country. None details about the road to enter Syria. Nothing about people who helped me. Not even about the dates of my journey... I have to keep silent.
It once again engulfed me, making me realise the extent of terror and unimaginable realities and stories that I am covering for The Maghreb and Orient Courier.
Why do I go back? Because it is improper to speak of suffering without having lived with those who endure it; because realities on the ground can only be known through experience and cannot be invented, nor developed in the comfort and safety of a newsroom.
Back in Syria, pursuing the trails of the actors of the democratic revolution; those people I had met in 2011 were enthusiasticand confident that victory was at hand.
I returned to the governorate of Homs a few months after the fall of the city in May. Thisshort journey revealed a perplexing reality.
I found Ammar, twenty-eight years old, studying computer science.
May 17, 2012, I left Damascus very early, by car. I went to Homs to film the largely destroyed rebel neighbourhoods. A few kilometres north of Homs, whilst I followed theroad to Hama, I saw a small town along the highway. Partly surrounded by the regular army; already ruined by artillery fire plan. I bypassed the checkpoints; I entered Tal-Biseh. The rebels stopped my car and welcomed me with open arms. There, I met Ammar for the first time.
Three years later, a touching reunion ... and a face to face conversation without illusions... Read more...