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Syrian conflict claims the life of another young filmmaker

September 9, 2012 |  1:41 pm


ANTAKYA, Turkey -- Tamer Awam, a Syrian documentary filmmaker, died Sunday of shrapnel wounds in the northern city of Aleppo, according to friends and activists.

Awam, 35, was wounded while filming in Aleppo’s Izaa neighborhood, one of the city’s most dangerous districts. Izaa has been the site of frequent clashes between rebels and pro-government forces.

Awam, who was based in Germany, traveled to Syria several times during the conflict. He often accompanied foreign journalists as a translator while shooting his own footage. He was a member of Syria’s Druze minority and was a native of the southern city of Sweida.

His most recent film, a 24-minute documentary, "Memories at a Checkpoint" (see above video, in Arabic), shows life in Idlib province during the conflict. Awam portrayed the destruction of houses, infrastructure and people’s lives in the aftermath of fighting. He toured Idlib villages and towns, interviewing civilians and fighters.

“He was always very balanced, calm and full of simplicity,” said his friend Massoud Akko, a member of the Syrian Journalists Assn. “He would go back and forth to Syria, often accompanying other journalists.”

Awam helped organize sit-ins in Germany supporting the Syrian rebellion. During one protest, he took issue with the Qatari monarchy, which has provided aid to the Syrian rebels.

"To the Qatari government I say, first liberate your own people," he declared. He also was critical of the coverage of the Syrian uprising by the Qatari-owned Al Jazeera network.

Awam was at least the second Syrian filmmaker killed while covering the uprising. Earlier this year, Bassel Shahade, a documentarian who studied in the United States and returned to his country to film the rebellion, was killed in the city of Homs.

Orwa Nairabiya, 35, a well-known film producer, remains missing after he disappeared Aug. 23 at the Damascus airport. Nairabiya was heading to Cairo, but his family reported that he never boarded his scheduled flight. Family and friends have accused Syrian authorities of detaining Nairabiya at the airport.


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