Synopsis: On 26th August 2013 a fighter jet dropped an incendiary bomb in the courtyard of a school in Aleppo, Syria. Some pupils were killed immediately, more died of horrific injuries soon after.
A BBC team, including director / cameraman Darren Conway, was inside Syria that day, filming at a local children’s hospital when the casualties started to arrive.
This wasn’t the first time that a school has been bombed in Syria, but never before had the world seen so clearly the human impact.
There were false accusations that this attack never happened, that the BBC’s pictures were fake, and that the young victims were actors.
Eight years later, with the attacks still ongoing, Darren Conway and his team crossed back into north West Syria to meet the survivors of the attack and families of those killed.
They discover first hand the lasting damage an incendiary weapon can do and the agonising injuries it can cause.
We hear from the teacher who still sees the charred remains of his students every day and can no longer teach, the student who suffered 85% burns to his body and still lives in constant pain and the father of the girl who begged for the world to act, to stop the suffering, before she died from her injuries.
Iqra School was one of thousands of schools totally or partially destroyed during the Syrian conflict which began in March 2011. They are still being targeted today.
At least 25,000 children have been killed – that number continues to rise.
This documentary is deeply personal for me.
Not just because i was filming at a hospital down the road from this school in Syria when it was targeted in September 2013…
Not just because i saw the agony of the kids when they were rushed into the hospital, smelled their burnt flesh and heard their cries of agony…
Not just because there have been those with personal agenda’s that have accused the attack of not happening, have said that the children faked their injuries, faked their deaths…
It’s personal because even though we were there, even though we documented it, even though the World saw the horrors of that day…
Very little has been done about it!
The international community has done nothing to help those that survived, who still live in agony from the scars, both physical and psychological. And the Syrian conflict continues, children are still dying today, ten years after the war began.
Please listen to their voices, see their scars and feel their pain.
Darren Conway (or dc) has been a key figure in some of the most groundbreaking television reports over the last 25 years.
He has built up a reputation as one of the foremost television cameraman, cinematographer of his generation. Renowned for the extraordinarily high and consistent quality of his filming and journalism, dc has worked around the globe in almost every major war zone and is frequently to be found in some of the world’s most dangerous places.
His ability to get close and film intimately with his subjects brings enormous visual power to the reports he helps to compile. The range of his assignments over his career make him stand out. He has been a pivotal and integral part of the BBC’s coverage of almost every major conflict in his time including Iraq, Afghanistan, Indonesia, Kosovo, The Congo, East Timor, Lebanon, the Arab Spring, and has covered other historical events like famine in the Sudan, the Hong Kong handover and the Asian tsunami from Aceh in 2004 to name just a few.
He has been one of a handful of BBC journalists committed to covering the ongoing crisis in Syria, which has been awarded two consecutive Emmy’s.
But it is his scope and breadth of filming and story telling that makes his work stand out and be easily recognisable. Whether it be in a conflict or civil unrest, a natural disaster, famine or flood, on the back streets where poverty feeds on people or on the high streets where those people fight for democracy and for their voices to be heard, dc’s filming and filmmaking is often described as harrowing and passionate, intimate and vivid… He films from his heart.
On top of all this he has also filmed, produced and directed a number of documentaries. His work has won him several prestigious awards including three Emmy’s, eight Royal Television Society awards for his filming and journalism, two Peabody’s, Prix Bayeux’s, David Bloom and The Guild of Television Cameramen Awards.
In 2014 dc was awarded an OBE for services to British broadcasting journalism. On receiving news of his award Darren Conway said:
‘This is an incredible honor for which I am extremely grateful. At the same time, it is very humbling to be recognised in a year when so many colleagues from my profession have paid the ultimate sacrifice, and many more are being held or have disappeared. My thoughts are with them and their families’.