Thursday May 16, 2013 AT 9:00 PM on CBC-TV
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The year 2011 saw sweeping change in the Middle East and North Africa – “The Arab Spring. Syrians watched what was happening on their television sets, and took to the streets hoping they could see an end to the 40 years of Assad family rule. But there was no Arab Spring for Syria, and almost 2 years later the destruction and death continues.
What began as a revolution continues to evolve because it is without precedent. Veteran journalist Rania Abouzeid has been on the front lines, and covering the Syrian events since the very first protests in 2011. With her frequent trips into Syria she has been reporting not only from the battle fronts, but also telling the personal stories of the rebel fighters and the civilians trying to survive
The documentary, shot in a cinéma vérité style, will follow Rania into Idlib province. Idlib has been a key battleground between the regime and the rebels, and although many of its towns are now in rebel hands, they are still within the reach of the regime’s warplanes and artillery.
This is the story of the Syrian rebels behind the frontline - why they fight, how they source their weapons and ammunition, and how they interact with each other. It is set against the backdrop of an impending major battle to clear out the last remaining outposts of Assad’s troops in the vast northern Syrian province of Idlib. If the rebels succeed, they will have created the first “liberated” province in Syria, a de-facto “safe zone,” without direct international help.
We meet some of those men, including a unit of the famed Farouk Brigades. We spend time at their base, walk through the rubble of their homes, talk about their families, their fears. We accompany them to the frontline, we cower from the Migs overhead, hear artillery land around us. We live with them as they prepare for a battle that they hope will serve as an example to others when rebels push south and take the battle deeper to Damascus.
In February 2013 the United Nations estimates over 70,000 have been killed with more than 5,000 people a day fleeing the country.