European Endowment for Democracy support to Aleppo’s last reporters: risking their lives in pursuit of truth

June 19, 2018
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Kareem Abeed went from engineering graduate to citizen journalist documenting the atrocities of war and the work of local humanitarians during the siege of Aleppo with a team of like-minded colleagues. The exceptional story of Kareem Abeed and the Aleppo Media Centre began when the war in Syria broke out.

I had nothing to do with the media,” Kareem says. “But deep inside, I had always been in love with journalism. When the revolution started, I just found myself there.”

When in 2013 Aleppo went out of the regime’s control, Kareem co-founded the Aleppo Media Centre (AMC) with like-minded citizen journalists. From these roots, the AMC has grown into an award-winning media outlet that regularly cooperates with major international news media such as AFP, Reuters and BBC. AMC was one of the very few news providers operating in Aleppo city until the fall of Eastern Aleppo in December 2016.

While reporting for three years in the shelled city of Aleppo, Kareem and his colleagues experienced moments of great despair, witnessing friends dying, the international community’s deafness to their powerful footage, and the feeling of being torn between a sense of mission and the very human emotion of fear.

Every night spent in Aleppo you wonder if you are going to wake up the next morning. There are bombings everywhere. The minute you open your eyes realising you are still alive, you go out there to work for Syria. For the truth.”

In May 2016, when the siege of Eastern Aleppo by the forces of the Syrian regime was imminent, EED provided AMC with emergency support to help them stay on the ground. As the media depends on energy supplies that would be cut off in a siege, the collective used the EED grant to obtain solar-powered equipment to enable them to carry on their work. 

This helped us a lot when all the other media offices were closed, damaged or had no power to work. But the AMC carried on until the last breath. We did most of the shooting for ‘Last Men of Aleppo’ using the solar panels purchased with EED support.”

Last Men of Aleppo’ is a film that came to the world’s attention with an Oscar nomination for the best documentary of 2017. The film is a historical testimony following the daily struggle of the White Helmets, a volunteer civil defence group rescuing the victims of bombings in Aleppo.


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Press Release

European Endowment for Democracy (EED)

Countries covered:

  • Syria *
Human Rights