European Union External Action


Syria Campaign

"Everyone who left was forced to do so. While waiting, we created a new life" Khaled Khalifa

Millions of Syrians live in a condition of exile. Exiled from their country, exiled in their own country.

Three short films by Syrian born filmmakers explore the consequences of eight years of conflict.

Follow Marwa, Saleh and their daughter as they are displaced from their hometown, first to Idlib, then to the Turkish border. Meet Ula, torn between the prospect of a new life in Sweden and her commitment to help Syrian women in Lebanon. Visit Khaled in the loneliness of his Damascus flat, where he struggles to find inspiration for his poems, isolated in his own city, after all his friends fled.


We will return, my love


Exiled at Home


“We will return, my love” by Hassan Kattan

During the siege, Saleh, a young citizen journalist from Aleppo meets Marwa, a young schoolteacher. They fall in love and decide to get married. Soon after the Assad regime reconquers the city, its inhabitants are forced to evacuate under Russian auspices.

Like many others, Marwa and Saleh leave Aleppo in the infamous green buses to be relocated in Idlib. This film follows their journey of endless displacement.

When they become parents, they realise that it is impossible to raise a child in such dire, violent, and uncertain conditions. They decide to leave Syria for Turkey.

The story follows their hazardous journey - will they find a safe haven to start a new life and build a future for themselves and their baby? Like many Syrians, they feel there is no place left for them on earth.

“Gharsa” by Leyl Abdel Aal

Ula Al-Jundi was born in Salamiyah, near the multi-ethnic city of Hama in west-central Syria. She took part in the uprising and was detained in regime prisons several times. After her release, Ula left Syria and settled in the Beqaa valley in Lebanon in 2013, with her husband and three children. There, she started working with a Syrian NGO on education, advocacy, empowerment, participation and capacity building of Syrian women in countries of refuge.

She now leads a “Women’s Participation program in the Public and Political spheres”; using her pedagogical skills, she raises Syrian women's awareness of their civil rights. When Ula's family was granted asylum in Sweden, she faced the dilemma of choosing between joining her family and her commitment to the Syrian women's cause. Ula’s story is that of courage and resilience of a Syrian woman

“Exiled at Home” by Lina Sinjab

Khaled Khalifeh is a renowned, prize-winning Syrian novelist. His work has been translated into several languages. Although his work has often brought him into confrontation with the regime, he refused to leave the land where his mother is buried. With time, he became exiled in his own country, while many of his friends are exiled in Lebanon or Europe. He lives in the shadows of a city that was once home to many of his friends.

The film captures the atmosphere of the city through the tale of a character and how he manages his solitude, surviving the absence of his family and friends.

Meet the directors

Hasan Kattan

Director of "We will return, my love"

A 27 year-old Syrian filmmaker. He studied law at Aleppo University, before working as cinematographer or assistant director on many movies including Oscar-winning “The White Helmets”, Oscar nominated “Last men in Aleppo" and the short "One Day in Aleppo". With over 7 years of experience in reporting and filmmaking on the ground in Syria, he has worked with a number of international production companies and channels including BBC, CNN, and Channel 4, producing many diverse stories about Syria.

Leyl Abdel Aal

Director of "Gharsa"

A Syrian born Palestinian filmmaker. She produced several award-winning short documentaries and feature films.

Lina Sinjab

Director of "Exiled at Home"

a Syrian filmmaker and award-winning journalist based in Beirut. Lina was the BBC correspondent in Syria from 2007 to 2013, where she covered the popular uprising in Syria, Yemen and Libya. In 2013, she directed "Suryyat", a film on Syrian Women during the uprising which was shortlisted for the One Media Award.

Her movie "Voices from Homs" never saw the light as Lina had to drop all the material in the sewage system when she was arrested by security forces. In 2018 she independently produced and directed “Madness in Aleppo” – currently in post-production - on the siege of Aleppo. She is also producing an investigative film for the BBC on the four-town evacuation deal that took place in Syria in 2017.


These movies were co-funded by the European Union and the German government to give Syrians a voice to talk about the issues they face as a consequence of the conflict. How do they carry on with their lives? How do they build their future?

The directors followed three stories of Syrians who lived the conflict in very different ways. Still, upon watching the movies one after the other for the first time, it was clear that the theme of exile –while unplanned for – inevitably and naturally emerged as the red thread linking the three movies.

Eight years after the outbreak of the conflict, the situation in Syria is still critical, with millions of Syrians displaced and in need of protection and humanitarian assistance.

The EU is the largest provider of aid to the Syrian crisis and believes that sustainable peace goes hand in hand with the restoration of Syrian social cohesion and dignity, based on justice and equal citizenship.

This can only be achieved when all Syrians will feel safe, free and able to live in dignity in their own country. And this is what the protagonists of the movies are saying as well.

EU citizens, universities, associations, and festivals interested in screening the movies and extra content can e-mail

News - Events

Do you want to organise a screening of the movies anywhere in Europe?
Write to