Ostghuta: The smell of fear and death

In the Syrian Ostghuta, everyone suffers. While the men try to film and photograph the suffering, the women of the world tell from life in the cellars.

Ostghuta: The smell of fear and death
  • Page 1 — smell of fear and death
  • Page 2 — "We want to live wher or not regime likes it"
  • Page 3 — "I have survived and can write to you, thank God"
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    The independent Syrian organization women now for Development, which operates three women's centres in Ostghuta, issued a press release last week. The headline was: "International Women's Day under siege, chlorine gas and napalm".

    "Even from dark cellars and bunkers we get daily news, which inform us about situation and show strength and strength of women", says re. And, "We publish se reports and provide women with a platform to share ir fears, thoughts and hopes."

    While male photographers and cameramen capture images of suffering in Ostghuta, women tell stories behind it.

    With escalation of violence in Ostghuta, social media accounts of women now and many or Syrian NGOs have turned into news portals. and main suppliers of reports published re are women. "On this day, as we celebrate achievements of women," concludes press release, "We must not forget those who were forced into darkness."

    is a journalist from Idlib, Syria. She currently lives in London. In 2015, she was awarded a journalist of year by Reporters Without Borders, and in 2016 she was named a der100 most powerful Arab woman by magazine Arabian Business. Erhaim has been working for Institute for War and Peace reporting for four years and has trained more als100 Syrian citizen journalists. In a short film series "Syria's Rebellious women", Erhaim has Schwierigkeitendokumentiert with which women are confronted in rebel areas. She has also shot film "Syria Diaries", which shows war with eyes of women. © Private

    In mid-February, Syrian regime under President Bashar al-Assad, toger with its Russian allies, began a brutal offensive to recapture Ostghuta, in which more than 1,000 people died so far. Ostghuta lies ten kilometres from Damascus and is one of last areas in rebel hands. For almost five years, it was under siege by regime. The situation of nearly 400,000 people, which are still trapped in Ostghuta, is worsened daily by ongoing bombardment and lack of food, drinking water and medicine. Many women and children are trapped in underground shelters, without sunlight and most important things. But despite misery, women of Ostghuta care for ir own and for or children – and share horrors that y and ir neighbors experience through social media with world.

    Time Online

    One of se women is Nivin Hotary, an activist who leads a public diary on Facebook, out of an underground makeshift bunker, which she calls " prison". On March 8th, or after her time "day 18 in basement", she wrote: "My greetings go to all women of World on International Women Day, my condolences to our wives for such a shameful world."

    Just a few months ago, few Syrians knew ir name. Now your posts and reports are present in all newsfeeds, even international media regularly quote.

    Faten Abu Fares, 54, is also an activist in Ostghuta. On same day that Nivin posted her message on women's days, she was injured by a bomb splinter. Faten has a bachelor's degree in English literature from University of Damascus, but for four years she has been running a kind of public kitchen in district of Harasta. There she cooks, runs farm, buys supplies and drives around with a flatbed truck to bring help to needy.

    Even now, when most people in Ostghuta hide in cellars and shelters, y all know that fate is cooking for m and risking ir lives to provide food for needy. Even after her injury, Faten was in her kitchen again next day despite bandages.

    Updated Date: 15 March 2018, 12:02

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