15 Sep 2015

Syrian war: the boy who dreams of rebuilding Aleppo

13-year-old Mohammed, who – unlike so many in Syria – does not want to flee, but dreams of growing up to become an architect, so he can help rebuild his home city of Aleppo.

By Waad Alkateab

After four years of war and dreaming every day of freedom, Mohammed Qutaish still hasn’t given up hope of a better future – even though the reality of living in Aleppo is worse than living in a nightmare.

Aleppo was once known as a city of cultural and architectural treasures… now it’s known internationally as the most dangerous city in the world, where bombings, gunfire and death are part of everyday life.

But some of us, like young Mohammed the would-be architect, still have hope.

The road to freedom is still his, our, ultimate aim.

Mohammed was excited to show me his model city that he’s spent so many hours lovingly crafting. And I wanted to film Mohammed’s story precisely because it shows that hope endures in Aleppo’s rubble.

To find, in the middle of all of this devastation, a boy with such determination that the future can be rebuilt is something that inspires me as a filmmaker, and as a Syrian.

Edited by Pavel Lopez
Produced in the UK by Zahra Mackaoui
Filmed and directed by Waad Alkateab – @A84b3c8b24ca4cf