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We will return, my love

Short documentaries, Syria, Turkey

Marwa and Saleh met in the midst of a war that ravaged their city of Aleppo. She was a teacher, trying to keep some sense of normalcy for her students amid the chaos and devastation. He was a citizen journalist, using his camera to bear witness to the atrocities and resilience of his people. They fell in love, despite the horrors around them, and decided to marry and build a life together.

But their love story was interrupted by the brutal reality of the conflict. The Assad regime, with the support of its allies, launched a siege that lasted for years and left the city in ruins. Marwa and Saleh, like thousands of others, endured hunger, thirst, fear, and loss. They survived by sheer willpower and the solidarity of their community.

When the regime forces finally took over Aleppo, Marwa and Saleh, along with their families and neighbors, were forced to leave their homes and flee to a nearby province, Idlib. They boarded the infamous green buses, symbolizing the forced displacement of millions of Syrians. They left behind their memories, their belongings, and their hopes for a peaceful future in their beloved city.

But the war followed them, as did the Russian airstrikes and the regime’s relentless attacks. They had to keep moving, seeking safety and shelter wherever they could find it. They had a baby, a daughter, who reminded them of the fragility and resilience of life. They wanted to give her a better future, away from the bombs and the bloodshed.

They decided to leave Syria, and embarked on a perilous journey to Turkey. They crossed borders, climbed mountains, and risked their lives in overcrowded boats. They faced smugglers, checkpoints, and discrimination. They endured cold, hunger, and exhaustion. But they also found kindness, generosity, and solidarity from strangers who saw them as fellow human beings, not as refugees or terrorists.

The journey was long and painful, but they made it to Turkey, where they found a temporary refuge. They are now living in a crowded neighborhood, struggling to make ends meet, and dreaming of a better future. They miss their families, their friends, and their home. They fear for the safety of those who stayed behind, and for the fate of their country.

Their story is not unique, but it is emblematic of the tragedy and resilience of the Syrian people. It is a story of love, displacement, and survival. It is a story that needs to be told and heard, to honor the dignity and humanity of those who have suffered and endured so much. It is a story that inspires hope and solidarity, even in the darkest of times.

AMC in collaboration with Voices from Syria, has documented the story of Marwa and Saleh, and many other Syrians, in a series of short films that capture the human dimension of the conflict and displacement. Their voices and images remind us of the urgency and importance of listening to those who have been silenced and marginalized by war and injustice. They remind us that love and hope can survive even in the midst of destruction and despair.

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