IDLIB, SYRIA – An Oscar-nominated Syrian documentary following rescuers under regime bombardment in Aleppo was screened Monday before dozens of spectators in the rebel-held city of Idlib.
“Last Men in Aleppo” by Syrian Feras Fayyad and the rebels’ Aleppo Media Centre shows the work of the feted White Helmet volunteer rescuers during the brutal government siege.
Government forces are now conducting a Russian-backed offensive to regain territory in Idlib province, the last one that had remained fully outside the regime’s control.
Spectators on the campus of Idlib University laughed, cried and sat in stunned silence as they watched scenes of carnage and loss in the documentary.
“It stirred memories of the last difficult days in Aleppo and the many people who died before our eyes,” said Mohamad al-Shaghel, who fled the city.
The December 2016 defeat of the rebels in Aleppo after a ferocious onslaught proved a major turning point in the war as leader Bashar Assad and his Russian backers seized the upper hand.
“What the heroes of this film lived through is what all Syrians have lived through,” said Alaa al-Abdallah, the director of the university’s media institute.
The film, which already won a grand jury prize at the Sundance Film Festival, is nominated for best documentary at this years Oscars.
Last year another film about the White Helmet civilian rescuers won an Oscar for best short documentary.