[Music]

we’ve just got to the city of Aleppo
which has had several hundred mortars falling over the last couple of days the
government has tried to take her major supply road of the rebels and the rebels
have retaliated by sending hundreds of mortars so no neighborhood is very safe
the whole of lapper is essentially a frontline you can see the remains of gas
canisters which you’re responsible for blowing up this area every corner those
these tops which have put up to try and block snipers views because the
opposition are literally just down there

very close to this area

it’s just sniper corners all around
Aleppo see how well there’s still some people living up there a bunch of IDPs
who have nowhere else to go were living in these buildings even though the
snipers on every corner so they’re
trying to tap into these temporary generators that have put up this web of
wires is insane it’s just kids wandering around here we were initially told that
these civilian areas were safe but it quickly became evident that even
government controlled Aleppo was not secure this is one of the houses that’s
been hit very well the locals here call held to which i think is you see the
remnants of that in here which is basically just gas which is held inside
these glass jars or canisters and just blasts the walls and really obliterates
the place I got this place gives me that free
exists who’s carrying I really don’t know how people can still like this
literally someone’s still living next door hello
Salam Salam Isabel I feel a bit silly being stuck here in my black jacket my
body armor and you guys just chilling like it’s a normal day
I can hear explosions going off every few seconds are you guys scared believe
it
I’m not will first open or open a Yanni hello Hannah be hot REI Murphy in self
Holly in human tomorrow Mojave are mushy intro for nearly six years this has been
the reality for Syrian civilians when the Arab Spring reached Aleppo in 2012
Assad’s response was a brutal crackdown followed by a siege of rebel dominated
parts of the city cutting food and essential supplies then
came a massive shelling and indiscriminate bombing but while we were
there the government was keen to show us that their side was also taking
casualties we are receiving almost quality kisses
for 100 cases a day Dean how are the sanctions impacting your work here in
Colorado Korea at the area Roberta community yesterday manages in module D
I never said about the telephone and the water balloon came in Silesia
Oh Julian do you ever get scared never end but I will not because you are
believing in God about 15 seconds will come don’t worry
15 second don’t worry this is definitely not easy conditions to work under but
civilians living here have little option but to enjoy the suffering
[Music] what happens your baby shows all your
arches ah yeah
Isaiah Zoila brought up what also saw tomorrow will Jim’s you mean why are you
still in leopard why haven’t you left well never work mid not a valid no now
and she in fear the world of civilians in Assad’s Aleppo feel trapped those in
rebel-held territory were in an utterly hopeless situation as Assad made his
final push for a leopard takeover leading desperate civilians to flood
social media with their cries for help to everyone who can hear me we are here
exposed to a genocide in the basicity of Aleppo more than 50 thousands of
civilians rebelled against the dictator al-assad are threatened with field
executions or dying under bombing [Music]
I’m sorry Harv Eker if a local met Daniel Kahneman Menashe I’m here I
caught me in a little while I can’t describe because what we have
seen the last few days it’s
indescribable

[Applause]

[Music]
but their pleas for help went unanswered Assad’s forces took control of Aleppo’s
last strongholds and those who survived who were bused away from their homes
this was a defining moment for Assad representing a major step towards
regaining complete control to see what life is like for those living under the
dictators tightening grip we traveled to the capital of Syria Damascus
[Music]

[Music]

the Christian neighborhood of Damascus
and Tennessee feels like we could be in so many different parts of the world
right now but definitely not Syria Oh they’ve just brought a poster of Assad
to put on the front of the wedding vehicle in government-controlled
Damascus residents are inundated with pro-regime propaganda glorifying the
image of Syria’s longtime dictator
[Music] day and night people are bombarded with
this message

[Applause]

but for these guys blasting propaganda
isn’t just a hobby did the government support you to do
this hermano don’t hide in Xena well Shari what kind
of response do you get from from people
you passing hello Lila net damping single disable Jana I’m in La Jolla Mila
Balladur the local Holly and Holly in the West
President Assad isn’t very popular he’s got a reputation for being responsible
for hundreds of thousands of people’s deaths and for millions of people
fleeing the country what do you think of
that I’m gonna get like Charlie Schumer and
Lou the other is now whatever sheriff now
well they have Lamar home hostile acid how did I said a la máquina grappa spell
well I could’ve known as la Culebra
cartel a lot father be captain Benicio nation hand needle to when we hired
camera Rizzoli Bashar al-assad Jenna bird and share we share whenever another
as we were talking a woman who had grievances with some of Assad security
personnel approached

[Music]

as soon as she appeared government
representatives some of whom we didn’t even realize for watching blocked us
from talking to her one security official whose voice we disguised to
protect him from the Syrian government told us what was happening you saying
this is nice basically this reference to 1984 rings true the Assad family has
ruled Syria as an Orwellian free State for over four decades and has only
increased its repression during the current conflict it imprisons political
opponents detained journalists and consistently makes enemies of the state
disappear unsurprisingly throughout our time in a style controlled Syria no one
would go on records to openly criticize the government in the Western media or
we here as a lot of atrocities 400,000 people being killed millions of
people displaced across the country do
you think the Assad has any responsibility in that universe is an
angel everybody makes mistakes but in some how to say some threshold it’s
acceptable okay and I think he he didn’t step out that threshold
like any good dictatorship part of how Assad controls this narrative is by
controlling the media hello
[Music] I’m here at summer TV which is a very
widely watched national TV channel I know that the presenters here are keen
to ask me some questions hoping to get the chance to throw them a couple of
questions too good morning thank you and welcome to
our beloved Syria thanks when you came to Syria you had ideas to
put in your movie what was your main goals and the main thing is to come in
from the government perspective and to see what you guys see and to see how you
guys live and one thing I was surprised
about is the number of posters and the level of supposedly here that President
Assad has I don’t know what you guys think about that as well okay hello
Jesse so what he Nikolic the Middle East Saudi a over here I mean can the habit
am I not at my anniversary at that Saudi fear and to be honest we have a
government minder with us the whole time we have a lot of people ensuring that
there’s a lot of commissions that we
need to get through every single layer and so getting to certain places on
talking to certain people is a real issue I don’t know if that’s partly
because of the restrictions that are in place for media maybe you guys could
tell me about that Kiefer was ritzy Isabella found in a story hits in
Hyattsville Surya are you able to answer

any of my questions

Camilla my Isabella can come in my
corner if resiliency habit Liam in fulfillment was hardly a Lambeth sorry
Victoria all the hosts avoided answering any of my questions
honor one of them did agree to speak with me candidly affair you have
millions of viewers watch both your monitor and your evening show do you
think the government watches it absolutely yes
absolutely yes I like it I don’t talk to anyone of them but I think if they did
build up proof they will tell us some way ordered some another way the people
in the West they see millions of refugees seeking asylum and they see
people fleeing a repressive regime where they feel like they have no option but
to leave and so you can understand why international media and the
international community would feel like President Assad isn’t the person that he
is perhaps portraying himself to be within the country why do you think he
is not the proper person I delivery are you living by real living with us
are you facing the difficulties that we are facing how can you have the right to
decide our our needs let’s not forget what happened in Iraq just like what
happened in Afghanistan what happened in too many areas in the world that doesn’t
give them the right to force us to change which is called Arabian Spring
and it’s not and it’s not just like spring that’s what I’m talking with him
it was apparent that the government uses the media to portray a glossier side
which might explain why they were all so eager to bring us to the coastal town of
Latakia

[Music]

[Music]
Jonica man Angelica theity argument
fear not we are actually in Syria [Music]
amia oh my god John no this is Syria this is not what I was expecting from
Syria this is Syria having fun with my family
taking care of my country supporting my country supporting my army because I
believed in them there’s something a little bit strange about having a
holiday here and having fun and everyone enjoying themselves it shows that
whatever happens here we’re gonna survive the barbarians tried to destroy
Syria but we’re living whatever happens we’re gonna rebuild it and Syria will be
strong again Latakia is crucial to that strength
despite being a hot tourist picked the Syrian elite it’s also home to Russian
fighter jets which are playing a defining role in securing victory for a
sorry is it a little bit strange at all that
all these people are here from the Mediterranean and at the same time we’ve
got Russian fighter jets flying over us and there’s fighting going on around the
rest of the country very very mean he’ll I ain’t a very very physically – a real
man bien de Jose opanka paralyzed while the government may be on the cusp of
rewriting history it’s impossible to
whitewash the impact of Assad’s brutal

crackdowns across the country

we didn’t have to travel far from the
capital does the total devastation in the suburb of des Raya we’re
literally just a kilometer or so outside of the city center of Damascus we’re
here in the suburb of Jiraiya town which just a few years ago had about 80,000
residents here now as you can see it’s
being completely bombed to smithereens this is actually one of the hotspots of
the revolution and the government has
clamped down pretty harshly on them absent
[Music]
[Laughter] to see bits and pieces of what remains
of life here [Music]
it’s pretty insane to think that there were 80,000 people are so living here
not so long ago and now it’s just the residents of de Riya didn’t just
disappear with the town under siege they were surrounded and starved out the
regime allowed us to meet with a select group of soldiers how come there are no
men here no hon hi my name is Usha Bob Schieffer a minute goodnight 1d who are
you looking out for there’s more I’d have even said no how come da me I’m
rocky ba I don’t – Musa Dagh there’s reports at least in the Western media
that there’s several thousand people over there who are starving and unable
to get aid is that true Liholiho comas would be sin not le rideau had a she had
many little both had the same Eliyahu and Yanina Catalunya nearly tore my
heart out I mean look Laurel as me and maybe she’ll am surfing and Hylian but
as soon as she responded a male commander overseeing its off-camera was
quick to interrupt and reassert the government’s official stance so you guys
have you killed any civilians and these were the only government fighters we
were permitted to talk to and we weren’t allowed to speak to them in private what
made you come here is madness our finest I’m I’m terribly honest with that
credible a man and national anthem some of skirt that sounded really really
close do you get scared steam powered you know naked man Hoffman go to a city
bus came to pick up the photos they

might have been here for us

much like Aleppo in the time since we
visited – Raya what remains of the town has fallen to Assad and the opposition
we were told with terrorists and is fighters were revealed to be
predominantly civilians including many women and children with more and more
territories suffering a similar fate we spoke to one of the Assad regime’s
leading politicians far as sahabi about the future of Syrians the US has said
that Assad is the root of all evil
whether or not you agree with that the US has been against Assad the EU has
been against Assad various international communities have been outspoken in their
opposition to Assad how is he still in
power it seems like that is against although yeah exactly this is the
question that you have to ask these all to all these hypocrites the politician
hypocrites in the West how can a guy that you put all the NATO brain and
power and intelligence against him and you could not do it after five years
what does that tell you is he a super
man is he really a guy with superpowers no the overwhelming majority of the
Syrian people is with him why are they with him because they don’t want their
country to go down the drain to be a failed state to be a form of Afghanistan
so do you think that Assad symbolizes
security and safety for the average civilian yes and symbolizes more
importantly secularism we are a secular state against fundamentalism against
Islamic jihadist against terrorism why aren’t you supporting us why are you
siding with the side that is known to be
jihadist and builds to the to the ground why are you siding with these guys it
seems like anyone who is classified as the Opposition in Syria is also
classified as a terrorist totally wrong when the first protests started to take
place in 2011 there were pretty peaceful democratic protests and the government
reacted by a pretty harsh crackdown which arguably left these opposition
groups there’s not much choice but to others but they supposed to light down
and take it well look what rained or
killed no one was big getting killed they see our reports is different than
your report it’s pretty evident yes what
we’ve seen on the ground is different than what we hear on the Western media
do you think that the government had nothing to do with attacks on innocent
civilians I’m positive but they want to demonize us fine this
is the result another result is that Syria’s five
largest cities which make up the backbone of the country are all now
officially in Assad’s hands and if you want to see what the future looks like
look no further than Homs [Music]
we’re in the city of Homs which is known as the capital of the Revolution the
government actually took back complete control of the city in order to do so
it’s left the city in completely died
state I mean it looks like some horrific film set
incredibly amongst all this rubble there are some families who are just starting
to move back into the neighborhood are
you nervous about rebuilding this place and moving back in when there’s still a
war going on well main channel diversity I’m sure
does the government have any responsibility for the damage that’s
been caused here no really it seems like this will be the legacy of the
revolution against Assad not just the destruction of entire cities but the
total acquiescence of the surviving population does anyone in this town hold
any blame towards the government mr. Kuhn I’ve seen a little as me current
cetera is module 1 is our module even amongst the apocalyptic scenes of
devastation Homs had an eerie sense of an echo chamber whatever way we asked we
got nothing short of devout regime loyalty do you blame the government at
all because they were responsible for many of the attacks that took place in
homes no no no no no no no I succumbed me very good
[Music]

you

[Music]


Six years of civil war has left most of Syria, a country once known for its ancient cities, in ruins. On the battlefield, Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad’s forces continue to fight a loose, and increasingly diminished collection of anti-government rebels. While in the country’s east, coalition forces have crippled a once fearsome ISIS, driving the group from its strongholds. War continues to rattle much of the country, and peace remains a notion far off in the distance, but one thing has come into focus with each passing day: Assad isn’t going anywhere. To see what life is like under Assad’s rule, VICE New sent Isobel Yeung to Syria just as the final bombs were falling over Aleppo. Watch more full episodes of VICE on HBO Season Five here: http://bit.ly/2D3FpHB Subscribe to VICE News here: http://bit.ly/Subscribe-to-VICE-News Check out VICE News for more: http://vicenews.com Follow VICE News here: Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/vicenews Twitter: https://twitter.com/vicenews Tumblr: http://vicenews.tumblr.com/ Instagram: http://instagram.com/vicenews More videos from the VICE network: https://www.fb.com/vicevideo

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