Finalist, The Rory Peck Award for Features

Muhammad Ali (Syrian)

December 2013 - January 2014, Syria

Syria's Second Front

Clover Films for PBS Frontline

This film was one of the first to show how the revolution in Syria devolved into a fight between rebels and extremist factions. Muhammad travelled with a group of Free Syrian Army fighters – formed to fight the al-Assad regime – who now found themselves fighting ISIS too.

The film takes us inside a closely-guarded meeting of opposition leaders – forced to co-operate in the face of the ISIS threat. We see inside a small town, Al-Atarab, taken by ISIS fighters during one of their public rallies. Then we see the battle to re-take the town. Towards the end of Muhammad’s trip an ISIS suicide car bomb exploded near the FSA camp, killing several men.

Watch "Syria's Second Front" (PBS - US viewers only)
Watch "Syria's Second Front" (Journeyman Youtube)


Muhammad Ali is a filmmaker who began working as a freelance print journalist in Syria in 2005. His articles were published in The National newspaper, BBC World News, and Foreign Policy. During the last few years, he has produced documentary films for the PBS, ZDF, ABC and BBC channels, reflecting the situation on the fighting frontlines in Syria and the expansion of the Jihadi groups' rule.

Judges Comments

“He was ahead of the game on the rise and importance of ISIS and – with extraordinary courage – he got right within the story. His work is intelligent and clear-sighted. Only a Syrian journalist could have made this film which gives us a dramatic explanation of what is happening in Syria".