In July I went to Tunisia to do some research on the situation of the migrants who are stranded there. I kicked off in Tunis and then went to the South, to Medenine and Zarzis, small villages that are close to the Libyan border.
La Marsa, Tunis © Andrea Backhaus
“Le Foyer“ is the reception centre for migrants in Medenine, a town in Southern Tunisia, close to the Libyan border. Almost all the people here are from Congo, Gambia or Nigeria and have been in Libya before, where they have experienced exploitation, violence, sexual abuse, torture. They all tried to get to Italy, but when their boats broke in the Mediterranean Sea, Tunisian fishermen rescued them. Now they are in limbo and have nowhere to go, so they kill the time by playing billard in the yard. Some are so desperate, that despite all the horrors they experienced there, they want to find smugglers to bring them back to Libya – to get again on a boat towards Europe.
More to follow soon!
Le Foyer in Medenine © Andrea Backhaus
In July I was in Salzburg, Austria, to speak to young journalists on why in times of conflict and crisis (not only in the Middle East), profound and in-depth journalism has rarely before been so important.
In der türkischen Grenzstadt Kilis leben mittlerweile mehr Syrer als Türken. Die Nähe zum Krieg ist überall spürbar. Trotzdem klappt das Zusammenleben. Meine Reportage aus Kilis ist hier auf Zeit Online nachzulesen (28.5.2017).
Die Weißhelme sind nach einem Luftschlag sofort zur Stelle. Sie retten die Verwundeten, leisten Erste Hilfe. Die drei Protokolle ihrer lebensgefährlichen Arbeit in Syrien sind hier auf Zeit Online (22.5.2017) nachzulesen.
In May 2017 I spent some time in Southern Turkey, very close to the Syrian border. In Gaziantep I met with the White Helmets (Syria Civil Defence), who are doing incredible work in Syria: After a bomb hits a building, they are often the first and only ones, who rescue the people from underneath the rubble. In the past six years they have rescued the lives of more than 90.000 people in Syria.
Among others I met Lina Shamy in the White Helmets office in Gaziantep, just 120 kilometres from Aleppo. Lina belonged to the last few thousand civilians who were removed from Eastern Aleppo in mid December, when Assad and his allies regained control over the whole city. “We will always believe in the ideas of the revolution”, she said, “in freedom, dignity, justice.” She added: “We will do anything to bring Assad to justice. We will work until our last breath to make his regime accountable for what it did to the Syrian people.”
Here are a few impressions from the situation of the Syrian refugees at the border.
More to follow soon!
Gaziantep ©Andrea Backhaus
Original Aleppo Café in Gaziantep ©Andrea Backhaus
Kilis City Center. In Kilis live 94.000 Turks and 135.000 Syrians. Despite the fact that since the Syrian war broke out the population of Kilis has more than doubled and the Syrian border is only 5 Kilometers away, there are no big conflicts between the two communities. ©Andrea Backhaus
Elbeyli Camp near Kilis hosts 20.000 refugees from Syria. It’s more like a little town rather then a camp, with a hospital, five schools, two mosques, playgrounds and a market. Although the standard in the few official camps in Turkey are quite high, only 10 percent out of the 3 Million Syrians actually live in them. Right behind the camp there is the border wall, the villages in the horizon belong to Syria. ©Andrea Backhaus
Tarkan has fled Aleppo four years ago. Now she lives in the Turkish border town of Kilis. ©Andrea Backhaus
Few impressions of the ceremony of #libertyaward17 that I had the honour to be nominated for, together with my colleague Zouhir AlShimale. Congratulations to the awardee Claas Relotius (Der Spiegel).
Zehntausende fliehen vor den Kämpfen in Mossul, viele suchen im kurdischen Nordirak Schutz. Der Kampf gegen den IS wird für die Autonome Region zur Belastungsprobe. Meine Reportage aus dem Nordirak ist hier auf Zeit Online (11. März 2017) nachzulesen.