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Syria: Across the Lines

Wed Apr 17, 10-11pm, C4

Mohammed is a farmer in Syria’s Orontes River Valley. Many of his fields lie in the no-man’s land separating government and opposition forces in Syria’s horrendous civil war. ‘There’ll be vendettas for 50 years as a result of these crimes,’ he reckons. After watching this indescribably bleak film, 50 years seems wildly optimistic.

Director Olly Lambert has spent five weeks living with both sides and, wisely, makes no judgments on the wider politics of the conflict. Instead, he concentrates on the few things that seem certain. The war is being fought in and around the backyards of helpless, brutalised civilians. Dignity, in life or in death, is a thing of the past. And there is no end in sight; this is a conflict of agonising, day-by-day attrition – the death toll stood at 70,000 as the film was finished but, by the time of broadcast, that will be an obsolete figure. An brave and important record of what feels like a truly hopeless situation.