Syria

‘White helmets’, the Syrian men and women braving bombs to save lives


In Syria, they’re known as the Syrian Civil Defense. Elsewhere, they’re called the “white helmets”, which is what they wear during their rescue operations. For almost two years now, these volunteers have been saving lives day in and day out in areas bombarded by the Syrian regime. Read more…
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Video of Syrian boy saving a little girl is a fake


The video “Syrian hero boy rescues girl” set social networks alight last week, with its footage of a boy rescuing a little girl from heavy sniper fire. Yet there was a glitch: it was a fake created by a Norwegian filmmaker, who purposefully left viewers in the dark over the origin of his film. Read more...
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Yazidi women slaves: real plight, fake images


Many Yazidi women captured by the Islamic State (IS) group have been forced into slavery. After months of speculation while photos claiming to show their plight circulated online, the group finally confirmed these rumours in its online magazine Dabiq. However, all the photos of these slave women circulating on social networks are fake. Even though the jihadists boast about enslaving these women, they keep them hidden away. Read more...
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'Food porn' for IS fighters, soup kitchens for the rest

Since the coalition strikes started, prices have skyrocketed in the Syrian city of Raqqa, and inhabitants are struggling to make ends meet. The local soup kitchen is having trouble feeding all the needy residents. Meanwhile, the jihadists who control the city post photos of their feasts on social media. Read more...

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IS jihadists taunt Turkish army at Syrian border


A video showing fighters from the group calling itself Islamic State talking to Turkish soldiers near the embattled city of Kobane has widely circulated online. The video has angered Kurdish activists, who see it as proof of collusion between the Turkish army and the jihadist group. However, the scene appears to be the result of provocation on the part of the IS fighters. Here’s why…
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Activists risk their lives to spray anti-IS graffiti in Raqqa


Despite being a frequent target of airstrikes by the US-led coalition, the city of Raqqa in eastern Syria is still firmly in the hands of the Islamic State (IS) group. Thousands of civilians have fled the city, but one group of activists has stayed behind to denounce the jihadists' brutal rule. Their actions include spray-painting graffiti with anti-IS slogans on the walls of the city – a daring act that could cost them their lives. Read more...
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Priests race to save manuscripts from jihadists in Iraq

As fighters from the Islamic State group rampage across northern Syria and Iraq, a group of priests are racing against time to save what's left of the region's Christian heritage. Dominican Order priests have already managed to get many precious artifacts and manuscripts safely to Erbil in Kurdistan. Read more...

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Kobane Kurds stranded on landmine-ridden border


In Kobane, a Syrian city located near the border with Turkey, street battles are raging between jihadists from the Islamic State (IS) group and Kurdish fighters. A few hundred metres away, more than 2,000 Kurdish refugees have amassed at the border on terrain riddled with landmines. Read more...
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Secretly filming in the IS-group held city of Raqqa

Despite the risks, a young activist in Raqqa, a Syrian city held by the Islamic State organisation, has been secretly filming its streets on his mobile phone for more than a week. He shares his story with the FRANCE 24 Observers...

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Immunization teams 'negligent' in vaccines that killed Syrian children


Fifteen Syrian children died this week in Idlib province, in northern Syria, after receiving what was thought to be a measles vaccine during an immunization campaign sponsored by the opposition Syrian National Coalition. An investigation conducted by the opposition’s interim government showed that the children were injected with a strong anaesthetic instead of the measles vaccination. Bashar Kayal was a member of the investigation team and told FRANCE 24 about the circumstances of this “mistake”…
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