LONDON: Syrian video journalist Waad Al Kataeb on Monday won Britain’s prestigious Rory Peck award for her horrific footage inside an Aleppo hospital in the aftermath of a deadly bombing.
Al Kataeb was awarded for her coverage inside east Aleppo’s last functioning hospital, Al-Quds, in November 2016 as the rebel-held zone starting falling to the Syrian regime.
Her footage “shows us so powerfully the horrors of war”, said judges for the Rory Peck Trust, which supports freelancers globally.
“I’ve seen this at least five times, and it still makes me well up. It is an exemplary piece of journalism.”
The harrowing footage from what was once Syria’s most populous city, broadcast by Channel 4 News and ITN, opens with a traumatised toddler who sits silent and covered in dust as a woman tries to comfort him.
“Oh my God! All my children are gone,” cries the woman with blood down her face, the only adult of three families to survive the bombing of their apartment block.
Following survivors of the attack on the hospital, Kataeb filmed two young siblings searching for their mother; the children described by the narrator as “exhausted beyond words, by a life beyond description”.
Accepting the award, Kataeb said her “only concern was that our story gets told”.
“Everything that happened in Aleppo is happening all over again,” she said, addressing the audience from behind the scenes to protect her identity for security reasons.
Kataeb studied at Aleppo University and taught herself how to film, while she received further training from NGOs, Deutsche Welle Academy and Orient TV.
Her reports from Aleppo have collectively been viewed by over 400 million people, the Rory Peck Trust said.
East Aleppo was seized by the armed opposition in July 2012 and the city was recaptured by the Syrian army last December, following a devastating five-month siege.
More than 330,000 people have been killed in Syria since the conflict began with anti-government protests in March 2011.