Frontline Syria: a tale of ‘destruction and despair’

2013-05-25 00:00

A YOUNG South African reporter discovered that there is nothing romantic about the job of foreign correspondent when he accompanied Pietermaritzburg aid organisation, The Gift of the Givers, on their humanitarian trip to Syria.

For two weeks in April Yusuf Omar (24) travelled across Northern Syria with a team of South African medics who had snuck into the war-torn country. Along the way he had to duck mortar fire, met victims of war and shared meals with members of the Free Syria Army.

“It wasn’t the Syria I’d always imagined. I saw no vibrant souks or age-old mosques. Just destruction and despair,” Omar said.

His documentary — Working in a Warzone: The Syrian Conflict through South African Eyes — offers a raw account of what it takes to tell a story from the edge of a civil war.

From being smuggled across borders to doctors under fire mid-surgery, the film introduces farmers-turned-fighters and their children who are caught in the crossfire.

There is also a behind-the-scenes insight into life in battle-ravaged Syria — with all its ruined cities, refugee camps and deserted schools.

“There is nothing romantic about being a war correspondent. The only thing that keeps you sane is finding the moments of humanity in all the madness,” Omar said.

More than 100 000 people in Syria have died since the conflict began in March 2011.

Omar’s documentary can be seen on eNCA (DStv channel 403) at 8.30 pm on Monday, 10.30 am and 9.30 pm on Tuesday, 3.30 pm on Wednesday, 9.30 am on Thursday and Saturday and 12.30 pm on Friday.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.