The Bombing of al-Bara

2013, Military and War  -  36 min Leave a Comment
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Olly Lambert has been filming in Syria for about two or three weeks and he really wanted to get an interview with Jamal Maarouf. He's the commander of the Martyrs of Syria Brigade which is one of the biggest units of the Free Syrian Army and definitely the most powerful in the region that he's been filming in. He had actually spent some time with Jamal about a week earlier but he was always surrounded by his men and he really wanted to have a proper interview with him.

They got a message to him and he said, "Come in an hour to a house in the village of al-Bara." Lambert went straight to this house but he was a bit disappointed that once again Jamal was surrounded by all his men and all his commanders. They seemed intent on having a long chat and serving tea and smoking cigarettes. Jamal is a very well-liked and well-respected commander and he's keen to show that.

Suddenly a jet flew overhead making a very unusual sound and it was clear that this was something that was quite extraordinary. There was the sound of exploding ammunition that was so big that even from 300 meters away from where it landed, it threw Lambert to the ground, and even for the guys who are relatively experienced military commanders who have seen a lot of frontline action, there was a lot of anxiety going on there. Even Jamal, who prides himself on being unruffled, was looking a little bit flustered.

The biggest problem he had at that point was that he didn't have his shoes on and there was so much happening so fast. He ran down with his shoes hanging off and realized just how close that bomb had landed. It was pretty likely, he realized at this point, that the main target could have been Jamal himself and at that point, he was put about four meters away from him.

Lambert had never seen anything on that scale. He'd seen mortar shells land, he'd been shot at, but this was clearly very, very big ammunition. What was most worrying was that the habit of the regime when it does airstrikes was to rarely just do one. It's very, very common that they would return and drop another.

Directed by: Olly Lambert