Video: Inside Assad’s Syria
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For the past month, Russian bombs over Syria have further complicated the civil war, a conflict that has been tearing the country apart for almost five years. What is the situation like for those still living in Syria? FRANCE 24's Ksenia Bolchakova was able to report from the cities held by the regime. This is her exclusive report.
Filming a report in areas controlled by the Syrian regime is not easy. First of all, you must obtain a visa. In my case, the procedure took three-and-a-half months. I had lost all hope when on September 30, I finally received the phone call to tell me that I had obtained the precious sticker.
September 30, 2015, was the first day of the Russian intervention in Syria. My Russian passport no doubt considerably helped the employees of the Syrian Ministry of Information in making their decision…
Once inside Syria, journalists are always accompanied by an assigned translator. This person officially helps you to obtain filming permits, which you need everywhere you go, but he or she is mainly there to watch you. In other words, your translator is the eyes and ears of the regime.
It is in these somewhat unusual conditions that I worked in Bashar al-Assad’s Syria. His picture is everywhere. On shop fronts, buildings, billboards, balconies, car windshields, even prams... You close your eyes and you can still see him.
From the south to the north, along the Mediterranean Sea, support for the dictatorship appears unfailing. As for those who might think differently - and are still alive - they hide and keep silent.
I was able to travel to several cities of regime-held Syria, the area that remains firmly under Assad’s control. From Damascus to Latakia and on to Homs, here is my report.