Finalist, Rory Peck Award for News

Zein Al-Rifai (Syrian)

June 2014 – February 2015, Syria

Aleppo: Life in Ruins

Commissioned and broadcast by AFPTV

Zein's entry is about the on-going conflict in his home city of Aleppo, the former economical capital of Syria, which has been divided between government and rebel-held areas since fighting erupted in 2012.

His entry shows the consequences of almost daily barrel-bombing but also the day-to-day reality of people’s lives in the rebel controlled area of the city. The judges described his camerawork as “compassionate” and “measured”.

Zein was an activist against the Assad regime at the beginning of the revolution in Syria before co-founding the Aleppo Media Centre. He was taught to use a camera by colleagues and friends. Since then he has worked as a freelance journalist for international media including Agence France Presse (AFP), Al Jazeera, Orient News and alGhad alArabi. In August 2015 he was seriously injured whilst covering covering clashes between rebels and government troops on the northern outskirts of Aleppo.

Judges Comments

“It’s up-close and personal. You see the impact directly on the people of Aleppo – what they have to go through every day. The injuries, the death, the grief – but it never loses sight of the humanity – of what makes people continue to soldier on – in the worse of circumstances.”


“It was stunning. Aleppo is so difficult to get stories out of – and here was material that really caught the everyday – boys swimming in a bomb-crater swimming pond, children at a party. To have the eye and courage to film that shows a really intelligent film-maker”