The Bombing of al-Bara
When FRONTLINE filmmaker Olly Lambert sat to interview Jamal Maarouf, a Syrian rebel commander, he did not anticipate that bombs from government jets would begin to fall just 300 meters away.
Though the first blast knocked him to the ground, Lambert kept his camera rolling. He spent the next hour documenting the impacts of the Oct. 28, 2012 bombing of al-Bara, a village in Idlib province an hour south of Aleppo. The result is a rare, immersive portrait of the immediate aftermath of Syrian government air strikes on a civilian population.
FRONTLINE has condensed the footage into this 36-minute digital feature, vividly narrated by Lambert. It captures the chaos on the ground as villagers try to rescue family and friends trapped under the rubble, the bombing’s effect on ordinary civilians whose lives literally have just been blown apart, the terrible fear when the government jets return for a second bombing run, and the ensuing calls for revenge that illustrate the country’s descent into a no man’s land of hatred, suspicion and terror.
“It’s only when you see things like this that you realize the real impact of civilian casualties in a civil war,” Lambert says about the scenes he witnessed. “When I first arrived in Syria, people would often say to me, ‘Here your life can end in a moment. Any minute now you could be dead.’ And at first I didn’t believe them, but certainly after an experience like this, it’s hard not to feel that they’ve got a point.”
FILMMAKER and NARRATOR
DIRECTOR OF BROADCAST
DIRECTOR OF NEW MEDIA & TECHNOLOGY
ASSISTANT MANAGING EDITOR FOR DIGITAL MEDIA
DIRECTOR OF DIGITAL MEDIA/SENIOR EDITOR
DEPUTY EXECUTIVE PRODUCER