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Syrian journalist Waad al-Kateab wins prestigious reporting award

Kateab won Britain's Rory Peck award for her coverage inside east Aleppo's last functioning hospital, al-Quds
File photo of the destruction of al-Quds hospital in November 2016 (AFP)

Syrian video journalist Waad al-Kateab on Monday won Britain's prestigious Rory Peck award for her horrific footage inside an Aleppo hospital in the aftermath of a deadly bombing.

Kateab was awarded for her coverage inside east Aleppo's last functioning hospital, al-Quds, in November 2016 as the rebel-held zone was falling to Syrian government forces.

Her footage "shows us so powerfully the horrors of war," said judges for the Rory Peck Trust, which supports freelancers globally.

The harrowing footage from what was once Syria's most populous city, broadcast by Channel 4 News and ITN, opens with a traumatised toddler who sits silent and covered in dust as a woman tries to comfort him.

"Oh my God! All my children are gone," cries the woman with blood down her face, the only adult of three families to survive the bombing of their apartment block. 

Following survivors of the attack around the hospital, Kateab filmed two young siblings searching for their mother; the children described by the narrator as "exhausted beyond words, by a life beyond description".

Accepting the award, Kateab said her "only concern was that our story gets told".

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"Everything that happened in Aleppo is happening all over again," she said, addressing the audience from behind the scenes to protect her identity for security reasons.

Kateab studied at Aleppo University and taught herself how to film, while she received further training from NGOs, Deutsche Welle Academy and Orient TV.

Her reports from Aleppo have collectively been viewed by over 400 million people, the Rory Peck Trust said.

East Aleppo was seized by the armed opposition in July 2012 and the city was recaptured by the Syrian army last December, following a devastating five-month siege.

Last year, Kateab won two media awards from Amnesty International.

“This is a perished city called Aleppo. And all its people are asking you to remember your humanity,” she wrote in a letter accepting the awards in December. 

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