Aleppo’s Fall documents the conflict in Syria from the ground, and gets dangerously close to the dramatic events as the country’s capitol is about to fall.
”I want to see the rebellion from the inside”, director Nizam Najar says in his voice-over narration in Aleppo’s Fall, which premiered at IDFA in November. The Oslo based filmmaker grew up in Syria, Libya and Sudan, and was born in Aleppo, where he lived between the ages of ten and sixteen.
In his documentary, Najar travels back to the now heavily war-torn city, ten years after his last visit. Together with a local cameraman he decides to seek out one of the city’s front lines to find out why the rebels haven’t been able to conquer president Bashar al-Assad three years after the riots started.
Differences in opinions
The film follows one of the city’s allegedly sixteen different militias within the Free Syrian Army between 2014 and 2016 until the city eventually falls to the supremacy of the Russian-supported government forces. This particular rebel group is led by Haj Khaled–a father figure to many of the militia’s young men, according to the filmmaker. Nevertheless, Khaled is challenged by the younger and more charismatic second-in-command Omar, who’s in charge of the group’s military operations and often takes the opposite point of view to his leader. For instance on whether or not to respect a ceasefire that is being declared–Omar believes it is an opportunity to try to gather the various groups into a common front, while Khaled seems to fear that a single entity will be more predictable and easier to manipulate for the enemy.