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People & Power

Syria: Behind Rebel Lines

Behind the scenes with units of the Free Syrian Army as they battle the Assad regime for control of a key province.

Last Modified: 09 May 2013 16:07
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After two years the civil war in Syria shows no immediate sign of coming to an end. Though exact numbers are difficult to determine it is likely that hundreds of thousands of people have been injured or killed.

Millions more have been displaced and communities across the country have been irremediably scarred by fighting that has seen homes, schools, businesses and hospitals destroyed.

Yet those opposed to the Assad regime show no signs of faltering. Something keeps them at the front line - even though they are outgunned and often desperately short of everything from ammunition to medical supplies.

To find out what drives them, earlier this year veteran journalist Rania Abouzeid and Canadian filmmaker Sylvene Gilchrist went to spend time with elements of the Free Syrian Army in Idlib province, a key battleground in the northwest of Syria.

Their film tells the story of the rebels behind the scenes – why they fight, how they source their weapons and ammunition, how they function and live among and ruins and how often disparate armed groups - with different motivations and aims - interact with each other in a common cause.

Set against the background of an impending battle to clear outposts of Bashar al-Assad's troops from strategically vital points on the road south from the city of Aleppo to the capital Damascus, Rania Abouzeid spends most time with elements of the Farouk brigade as they gather their thoughts and prepare for action. She walks with them through the rubble of their shattered homes and talks with them about their families and their fears.

With the regime’s armed forces sometimes only hundreds of metres away, with bombs, artillery and rocket shells landing all around, and the ever-present Syrian MiGs hunting for targets from the skies above, this is a surprisingly intimate portrait of a group of fighters who have accepted they may have to pay with their lives to set their country free.

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Al Jazeera
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