Little Palestine, Diary of a Siege

Abdallah Al-Khatib

Daily life in Palestinian refugee camp Yarmouk in Damascus, during a siege by the Assad-regime. Abdallah Al-Khatib lives in the camp, picks up a camera and films for two years. The result is simultaneously determined, optimistic, shocking and heartbreaking, and filled with a deep humanity.

Abdallah Al-Khatib lives in Yarmouk, a neighbourhood at the outskirts of Damascus (Syria) that is home to the largest concentration of Palestinian refugees in the world. From 2013 till 2015, the regime of Bashar al-Assad besieged the camp – no one could enter or leave and the roads were blocked with mountains of rubble. Little by little, the camp was deprived of food, water and medicine.

The siege can be ‘a path leading to madness or suicide’, Al-Khatib says in the voice-over. ‘Fill the void with as much meaning as you can.’ So he picks up a camera and films life under siege with a sharp and tender eye for the humanity of the people, their suffering and anger, their hope and their joy. Like his fantastic mother, who volunteers as a nurse and blows balloons for children. And a group of young men placing a piano in the middle of the street beneath the destroyed houses, and start singing. Incredibly beautiful.


Abdallah Al-Khatib
Mohammad Ali Atassi, Jean-Laurent Csinidis
Country of production
Lebanon, France, Qatar
89 minutes
Spoken language
Arabic, English
Production company
Bidayyat for Audiovisual Arts, Films de Force Majeure
World Sales