Four extraordinary stories from inside the war zone. Filmmaker Zaina Erhaim presents a series of short documentaries shot in Northern Syria. The films portray four inspiring women -Waed, Zein, Ahed and Ghalia, each are from vastly different backgrounds but all share the common goal of helping their fellow-citizens.
Female activists who remain in rebel-held parts of Syria face numerous complex challenges. As well as facing the constant danger of bombing by the Assad government’s air force on the one hand and ISIS forces on the other, these women have to battle conservative traditions in a male-dominated society, aggravated by a militarised environment from which many civilians have fled. With restrictions on their movements, dress and behaviour and disapproval from their families, they nonetheless continue to work both to document the war and to help those who suffer injury, displacement and poverty.
Waed left her family in a government-controlled area to move to the rebel-held area of Aleppo, working as a paramedic on the front lines. When civilians started returning to Aleppo, Waed pursued her work as the only female citizen journalist in northern Syria.
Zein was released from 14 months in prison to find her home completely destroyed and her family displaced. She too became a paramedic, working in the Dar Shifaa field hospital alongside her friend Ahed.
Ahed, known as “the troublemaker” by her friends, was at the vanguard of demonstrations in Aleppo, against both Assad’s government and Islamic State. Despite beatings and humiliation meted out by both forces, she continues to do relief work.
Ghalia, a community activist has faced repeated attacks in her home town in Idlib province. Undeterred, she has founded a series of centres that provide vocational training to local women, and remains committed to trying to improve their lives.
Following the films will be a Q&A with director Zaina Erhaim hosted by Lindsey Hilsum, International Editor of Channel 4 News.
In partnership with the Institute for War and Peace Reporting