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Recommended Reading on Syrian Conflict

Carol’s List of titles read
Recommended by Others (I have Them on my Kindle!)


Please note that many of these documentaries are extremely graphic and show and discuss horrific war crimes. Viewer discretion is advised very strongly. May be suitable for 18+ in case of students who study the region.

  • “Under the Wire”, Arrow Media | BBC, 2019. Vimeo, can be purchased ans downloaded. Documentary on the death of journalist, Marie Colvin, in Homs, Syria. Her photographer, Paul Conroy was a survivor of the bombing that the regime used to hunt her down. The regime has been found guilty of a war crime in her death and ordered to pay a huge fine to her estate. A companion piece to Paul’s book.
  • “Last Men in Aleppo”, Amazon Prime Video ($3.99 rental, US) or DVD ($19.99 US) from Amazon, Directer Ferras Fayad, 2017. This documentary was nominated for an Academy Award, and is about the Syrian Civil Defense Corps (the White Helmets). A prior documentary, “The White Helmets” did win the Oscar in a prior year however I find this film to be far truer to what I saw among my friends who drove ambulances in Aleppo, a lot less “Hollywood” in style. There is a punch to the gut at the end, which is the reality of war, especially one that targets medical and rescue personnel and hospitals.
  • “For Sama”, Frontline PBS, 2019. Streaming only? Amazon and PBS back catalogs. Waad al Kateab is a young Syrian wife and mother who used her home movie camera to document life in besieged Aleppo, alongside her husband who was a doctor in one of the last standing hospitals in the East Aleppo area. Also nominated for an Academy Award, and nominated and won a BAFTA. Poignant and heart-stopping. My friend Alaa Alowaiy can be seen very briefly in the final scenes as patients and ambulances are gathering in the streets to be led to safety.
  • “The Cave”, National Geographic Films, 2019. Amazon Prime Video only. Also by Ferras Fayad who did “Last Men in Aleppo”. The story of one of the last hospitals in the area known as al-Ghouta. Besieged and bombed almost continuously, the young doctor who is left in charge of this hospital has established the main operations in an underground, cavern-like basement of the hospital that has been bombed ruthlessly by Syrian and Russian air forces. Dr. Amani Ballour, a 30 year old pediatrician, is left in charge of the other staff and has to deal with men in the waiting room who do not think her capable. She was VERY capable. I watched this on a friends’ TV with stereo surround sound and it was highly unnerving as the bombs thundered so loudly my stomach recoiled every moment with distress and my heart pounded almost as loudly as the explosions on screen. If you want to know what a war feels like when you are the one they are trying to kill, this is possibly as close as you will get.
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