Syrian journalist, writer and documentary filmmaker, Ali Al-Ibrahim, has survived both Assad’s prisons and ISIS’ captivity. He managed to leave Syria for Turkey late 2015, documenting the escape with hidden cameras and a cell phone. He is safely arrived as ICORN writer-in-residence in Sweden and has started a project to explore what has happened to the more than 10.000 children who have disappeared after arriving in Europe.
During the past five years of armed conflict, more than 500,000 Syrians have lost their lives, more than 6 millions are internally displaced within Syria and nearly 6 millions have fled the country. What began with anti-government protests against the Assad-regime in March 2011, escalated into a full-scale civil war and is one of history’s worst humanitarian crises.
The uprising in Syria started not long after Ali Al-ibrahim had graduated with a degree in Media and Communication Studies from Damascus University in 2010. He was covering the early protests in Syria in 2011 when he was caught in the mass imprisonment of protesters by the Assad regime. He was kept under inhumane conditions in prison for more than two months.
Ibrahim continued his reporting after his release and worked as an investigative journalist and war correspondent for several Syrian and pan-Arab newspapers, including the Alaraby, Almouden, Elaph as well as the TV networks Al-Araby Al-Jadeed Tv, Sky News Arabia and the online news platform Middle East Eye, and together with other international media outlets.
His articles and documentary footage have focussed on reporting the devastating destruction of cultural heritage in the ongoing conflict in Syria, and its impact on civilians, especially children.
In 2013, whilst working on an assignment for Sky News Arabia on the El Ghouta battles, he was captured and abducted by ISIS militants. He was kept for two months before his unexpected release and spent three days in confinement with James Foley.
Al-Ibrahim still insisted on remaining in Syria, stating that "the world needs reporters to document what is going on in our country”.
Before fleeing to Turkey early November 2015, Ibrahim had been working undercover on a project with three other colleagues documenting schools under Al Nusra and ISIS-controlled areas. The project aimed to capture the way education is being exploited by extremist groups, to influence generations of young Syrians and to recruit them for military operations. They started their research in December 2014 with funding from IMS’ ARIJ programme, and began filming inside Syria during the summer of 2015, when it became increasingly unsafe for him to stay.
Now that he is safe in Sweden as part of the ICORN International Cities of Refuge Network, he has started a new documentary project exploring what has happened to the more than 10.000 children who have disappeared after arriving in Europe from conflict areas in the Middle East. He is also working on an ongoing large scale film project which depicts and documents everyday life situations of survival in the sieged city of Aleppo.
He is executive director of SIRAJ, which is Syrias first investigative journalism organization.
Some of Al-Ibrahim's reports from Syria