Foreign Correspondent: Mar 19

2013-03-17_2200On Foreign Correspondent ABC Middle East Correspondent Matt Brown spends a week living with a family in Syria and meets 11-year-old Ibrahim who dreams of becoming a doctor.

Cameraman Mathew Marsic films the aftermath of bombs dropping next to schools, and ballistic missile attacks that kill more than 90 civilians, including 46 children.

What makes an 11-year-old boy start wetting the bed? Try missile attacks on your school, for starters. Ibrahim lives with his family in Aleppo, Syria, where his father has left his job as a laundryman to fight for the rebels who are trying to topple the government of President Bashar Al Assad and his mother struggles to keep her 6 children safe amid the chaos and psychological trauma. They invited ABC Middle East Correspondent Matt Brown and his cameraman Mathew Marsic to spend a week living with them, amid the bombs, death and destruction, for this revealing portrait of a family at war.

11-year-old Ibrahim just wants to go to school, play football with his mates and help his dad with his work as a laundryman. Instead, he’s ferrying his best friend to hospital after a missile attack, dodging bombs on his classroom and spending his spare time scrounging kindling for fuel.

“I have already lost two years of study. I hope I don’t lose any more this year. I want to study medicine and become a doctor.” Ibrahim, aged 11

Ibrahim and his family live in the ancient city of Aleppo, Syria. The city is divided between government troops and rebel forces fighting to overthrow President Bashar al Assad. The east, where Ibrahim lives, is controlled by the rebels. The government still holds the western part of the city.

“Over there they have everything – education, teachers, bread, oil and gas. Over here we have nothing. There’s no money to buy anything.”  Ibrahim, aged 11

ABC Middle East correspondent and his cameraman Mathew Marsic take the dangerous journey from Turkey into Aleppo, to spend a week chronicling life in the war zone with Ibrahim’s family. They film the aftermath of bombs dropping next to schools, and ballistic missile attacks that kill more than 90 civilians, including 46 children. 

“If those running this war are ever brought to justice, this attack would surely count as a war crime.” Matt Brown, ABC Middle East correspondent

Matt also finds evidence pointing to the rebels using schools as a base to hide, which is also against international laws. In this war, civilians are suffering from both sides.

Ibrahim’s parents have six children, and daily life for the family is reduced to a simple struggle for survival . They never know where or when the next air strike is going to hit. Each day brings new concerns – will Ibrahim be able to go to school today? Will there be enough to eat? Who else among their friends will leave town to become a refugee in aforeign land? Even so, they don’t regret the path they have taken, in siding with the rebels.“This revolution is for the children. We are building them a better future.”  Zein al Dein, Ibrahim’s father.

Tuesday, 19 March at 8pm on ABC1

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