13 Days Alone in a Conflict Zone (Syria)

By | January 25, 2023

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Hey guys!!! Join me on an unforgettable and eye-opening journey in SYRIA as I embark on a 13-day solo adventure across one of the most conflict-ridden countries in the world. This is not your typical travel vlog, as I go beyond the tourist hotspots and dive deep into the heart of Syria, experiencing the culture, the people, and the everyday life in a way that few outsiders ever have seen before.

From the ancient ruins of Aleppo to the bustling streets of Damascus and the lovely beach towns of Latakia, I capture the raw beauty and resilience of a nation torn apart by war. This is a side of Syria that you certainly won't see on the news, and it will leave you with a new perspective on the Middle East. Get ready to be moved, inspired, and maybe even a little bit scared as I take you on the trip of a lifetime.

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I'm Drew Binsky and I have been to EVERY Country in the world (197/197). I make travel videos about people, culture, and anything else I find interesting on the road. My ultimate goal is to inspire you to travel far and wide because I think that traveling is the best education that you can get, and our planet is beautiful!

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When I say the word Syria what comes to Mind But what if I told you that Syria is Also this [Music] We come to Syria hello how are you Welcome to you in Syria [Music] Look I'm not here to tell you that Syria Is a safe place to visit because it's Not going there is only recommended for Experienced Travelers as there are Countless checkpoints in areas that you Need to avoid due to the ongoing Conflict since 2011 more than 500 000 Innocent lives have been taken and 7 Million others have been forced out of Their homes as refugees I'm walking Through one of the camps here in eastern Part of Lebanon and their houses are These white little put together places On top of that 51 of syrians right now Are living in extreme poverty on less Than 1.90 per day it is absolutely Heartbreaking to witness a country that Was once so prosperous suffer from war Terrorism and political instability kind Of like what's been happening in Iraq Yemen and Afghanistan but even more Devastating than those countries I have Never seen destruction like I've seen in Syria This one is supposed to be most Wow more than 120 billion dollars worth

Of damage has been done to its Infrastructure and when you travel there It's all right in front of your eyes my House in 2012 was destroyed so what Happened when it was this road uh we Wasn't In church I came back we did any house so now We're walking through the Old Market Here you can see it being rebuilt right In front of me those guys hammering away Just sad I mean you can just imagine What it used to be like for all those Years and now it's just completely Gutted out and empty it I spent two Weeks in Syria back in 2019 and I often Sit here and reflect on my trip first I Went to the capital of Damascus home to The fourth most important mosque in Islam then I moved onward to homes the City that suffered most from the war Followed by Aleppo my favorite place for Its towering ancient Citadel the oldest Of its kind on Earth after that I went Westbound to the stunning Mediterranean Coastline and enjoyed the laid back Beach towns of Latakia and Tartus which Completely caught me by surprise it Really has the potential to be a Paradise for tourism I completed my trip In the Charming Villages of sadad marde And malula home of the largest Christian Population in Syria so you know like the Muslims have the prayers five times a

Day well in this Christian village in Syria they have the same prayers but It's a Christian songs So beautiful but the kick here is that I Went on this trip with an open mind and A willingness to learn about Syrian People and culture and because of that I Came out a changed man I found myself at A Crossroads did I want to tell stories That dwell on the past or look forward To the future I chose the latter and Continue to to this day syrians are the Most resilient people I've met in my Entire life and they deserve better There is so much potential in this Country despite the mainstream media Sharing stories of Terror I believe that Syria is the ultimate destination for Experienced Travelers who are seeking Mind-blowing experiences I am the Highest person right now overlooking Damascus talk about best travel moments In my life this is probably one of them The hospitality is world class you could Honestly travel with zero dollars and Easily find food or shelter without even Trying Oh you're inviting me for tea But it's like tea Thank you inshallah the cuisine is to Die for Falafel Shawarma tabule kibbe I Just cannot even comprehend or explain To you how good this is oh and how can I Forget hummus it was invented in Syria

The cities are Lively with bustling Markets street food everywhere and a Really fun nightlife scene that I didn't Quite expect The ancient history is inspiring with Six UNESCO sites some dating all the way Back to Mesopotamia and of course the Smiling strong people will make you Never want to leave they have survived Trauma that most of us can't even Comprehend and I feel like it's our duty To help uplift their culture and put an End to unfair dehumanization of course I Was nervous to visit Syria alone as an American Jew some at the Syrian Customs Right now waiting to get my Visa and They don't have the vision of but it Turned out to be one of the most Remarkable trips of my life I never Expected to see such modern cities Beautiful mosques Jewish synagogues Humbling beach towns and the most Diverse faces of any country in the World welcome to Syria I even found other redheads so I came to Syria and I'm so shocked to see that so Many of the kids have red hair but I Can't tell this story without getting One thing straight in the past I've been Called out for being sponsored by the Syrian government but it's absolutely Not true my trip to Syria was Self-prepared and self-funded and in Fact I've been trying to go back but

I've been informed that I'm blacklisted And cannot get the visa as you can Imagine I'm really upset and hurt by This because all I've been trying to do Is share the beauty that exists in Syria Through my videos so if anyone out there Can help me get the visa please reach Out via email in this 60 Minute story I Will show you the real Syria and prove To you that there is a beating heart to This country that is calling your name Welcome welcome one two three four five So I invite you to get comfortable grab Your popcorn and get ready for a tense Ride across the cradle of civilization This is Syria before we dive in I just Want to say two quick things number one Thank you for being here and watching my Stories I feel like I'm getting in a Pretty good groove on my Channel with Epic stories and I have a lot of great Things lined up in the coming months at Number two click that link on the top of The screen to subscribe to my YouTube Channel this is the easiest way that you Can support myself and help contribute To my career as an independent filmmaker With that all being said let's dive into All things Syria good morning from Damascus my very first day in Syria Country number 183. Foreign [Music] Overlooking Damascus Syria

It's just amazing oh my God look at this View guys I mean it's just stunning the Drive here from Beirut was only 75 miles And it's not bad at all except for the Fact that the Syrian officials didn't Have my Visa number in their system so We took two stressful hours to convince Them that I can get in but I'm in and Holy crap this place is not what I Expected at all Damascus is considered As the oldest continuously inhabited City on earth with evidence of Habitation dating back 11 000 years and Walking around the streets of the old City is just magical [Music] Aside from a few police checkpoints You'd never even know that the country Has been in a constant state of War for The last eight years Damascus is filled With little kids running through the Streets and Shawarma stands in ice cream Shops as busy as can be we need to push Our way to get out just like the dozens And dozens of markets so many people Have come up to me on the street with a Big smile and just welcoming me into Syria we're all welcome to [Music] Come and it's almost like Everyone likes The camera and it's it's shocking see I'm good how are you yeah My friend and tour guide named gaida Took me to visit one of the world's

Oldest places of worship the umayyad Mosque which was formerly a church and Is one of the most beautiful buildings I've ever seen it's so beautiful in here You can just feel the power on these Walls it's just Then we proceeded to wander into the Azam Palace [Music] As you can probably guess by now Damascus has so many historical sites to See and we weren't even close to being Finished our next stop was the Khan Ashad Pasha which is a 27 000 square Foot caravansadai which used to host Traders and Merchants coming from Baghdad and around the Middle East it Was like a hotel before modern hotels Existed and believe it or not this one Is older than the USA after that we took A stroll through many of the markets in The old city which was overwhelming to Say the least we're in this like insane Traffic jam I've never seen markets so vibrant Crowded and delicious so I can't end the Day without getting a delicious Shawarma My favorite Middle Eastern food and it's Right in front of us [Music] Let's see oh my God Oh my God So good honestly one of the better Drummers I've had

We ended an amazing day in Damascus at a Cafe for some chill time and shisha [Music] Damascus is a very special City not only For its charm history and culture but Also because it's one of the most Affordable capital cities in the world In the following few minutes I'm gonna Take you on a 10 budget challenge to see How many things I could get around town For cheap 10 bucks is about 7 000 Syrian Pounds are you guys ready for this one Let's hit it No matter where you look in the old city You will see food lots and lots of Really tasty food in shapes colors and Textures that you've never seen before My brain is going crazy how are you I'm Good how are you pomegranate good on it Yeah yes so I'm in the middle of the Street here and I found a Fruit Stand And this little kid with the hat on it For me thank you [Music] [Music] Extremely good So I wanted to try one street food here In Damascus and my friend took me to get Manaish which is right in front of me And we're gonna see how it's made by This guy so what are you gonna order for Me I can't read that make me the best thing That you can make okay

How many years have you been making this It's 1998 1998 amazing and he told me that he's The first person to make this dish on The street so long story short this guy Has the system down to his science [Music] Thank you my friend fresh off the press Let's try it Very good it's kind of like a Syrian Quesadilla there's like melted cheese Inside and there's salsa with pepper Thing and tortilla oh so good next I Gotta get my hands on that red Syrian Cat which I've seen everywhere because You got to embrace being a tourist Sometimes there's a house what's the Price of this one 800 800. Thank you perfect these hats are super Cool very Syrian Style just a few shots Down and I spot another one of my travel Collections one flag nothing okay I Bought Flags in like 50 countries and This is the cheapest one I found in my Life in Syria Here we have now hopped in a taxi To go to downtown to go explore the the Downtown area of Damascus which is about A 20 30 minute right away there's Something special about the taxis in Damascus they're all yellow and old It's so much fun to cruise around these Streets and every time we were stopped In traffic I made a new friend I just

Can't believe how amazing these people Are as soon as we got dropped off I Found another snack what are these Things these look amazing pistachio Coconut with some biscuits Very dry protector because the flavor is Super good next we headed over to the Bustling flea market that is in the Middle of the stunning turkish-style Mosques I came across this old man Carving something really cool so I Approached him what does it mean in English System Nothing more influence of them they love In your heart and nobody knows about it That's some deep thoughts Okay sure What does it say on it music notes yes You're a musician I am not [Music] Arabic alphabet not Arabic it's Phoenician confirmation it's first Alphabetic system ever exists how much Is that this piece yeah 500 only yes too much yeah Not too much too little I'm just kidding Okay I'll buy that what are you doing Here I'm just traveling on the tourist Really yeah What I love so much about this market And the people here is that they give Honest prices they don't try to oversell You that guy he just said 500 that was

His first price and almost everywhere Else around the world they will try to Overcharge you and then you have to Negotiate down but here in Syria there's No negotiations and it's amazing a few Doors down is another shop which caught My eye you make everything of course I Have Guru both girls who are working for Me I don't I can't do it can I see this This is a nice Campbell with the palm Tree do you think they will fit glasses Yeah for reading classes yeah yeah Glasses this one makes a perfect gift And the lady is too sweet not to buy From my name is Rafa hamdullah I work in The handicraft Market in Damascus we'll Come to you in Syria we have a nice city Thank you so much Bye-bye have a good day last but not Least I need to end this wonderful day With a treat and I found just the thing I was looking for I have no idea what This is I just saw it on the side of the Road this guy was making looks like like A lemon smoothie or a lemon slushie It's like a frozen lemonade we have These in the U.S we call them frozen Lemonade really good and the way he Makes it by hand and this little machine Thing and he like scrapes the ice off The side and it's amazing Siri is an Amazing country in total I got a Pomegranate juice Papa beans a manaish a Syrian cap a Syrian flag a taxi to

Downtown a coconut candy bar a Sunglasses pouch an alphabet necklace And a lemonade slushie for 9.71 and that's what ten dollars can get You in Damascus cereal Foreign I ended up extending my stay in Damascus because I enjoyed it so much You've now heard about the cheap prices Amazing food and hidden surprises around Town but have you wondered how I'm Getting around wait until you hear this All around Damascus you will find these Amazing yellow taxis that are really old School cars and the drivers are always Super friendly just like this man they Welcome you inside it's actually really Fun to ride the taxis and it's almost Like you enter into their home which is Their their taxi cars Welcome thank you do you speak English Yes you do nice okay I'm from America where are you from Thank you nice to meet you welcome you Are in your country Yes I love Syria Syria Not like love Tell him that I've been all over the World and I find Syrian taxi drivers to Be the most friendly I've thoroughly enjoyed everything I've Experienced so far in Syria I'm talking About every single category across the Board food nature weather history Culture right now we're cruising around

The Villages and But if I had to choose my favorite thing It would be the warming people Both men and women young and old from Shop owners to food vendors to military Guys to school kids Syrian people will Go out of their way to greet you with a Huge smile on their face and a hand over Their heart this is especially the case For taxi drivers welcome [Music] Muhammad My Name Drew You see I've taken taxis in almost every Single country I visited that's a lot of Taxi rides and I find them usually to be The place where I have the highest Chance of getting scammed like what Happened to me in Bulgaria and Kazakhstan but here in Syria it's Completely the opposite and I actually Look forward to getting in a taxi so Right now it's prayer time you can hear The mosques around the city and on the Radio station they also have the prayer Right now as we're sitting in traffic Foreign The drivers are incredibly hospitable to The point where you almost feel Uncomfortable if I just hopped in a taxi Here in Damascus and the first thing That this guy did was offer me his try Which is so nice That's it Amazing

What's up have you ever been offered a Try from a taxi yeah so it's normal yeah Incredible you want to drink What is it water no No perfume Okay how many times have you had an American in your car I'm the first wow I'm so honored I'm so Happy to meet you you're very very kind Thanks I want to keep driving I don't Want this ride to stop like we can go Everywhere so the next time you think About Syria just remember that there are Tons of friendly people who would love To take you around town what Come bye bye Let's continue the stories about Friendly people because so far in Syria Every person I've met has been so warm And genuine on one random afternoon I Walked into a shop and was greeted by These two elderly men they have one of The most inspiring stories you will ever Hear my name Antonio my brother Mosaic is Thank you These amazing Brothers have spent the Last 70 years making mosaics by hand While smoking cigarettes drinking tea And sharing laughter So their shop is just in this little Back alley in the old city of Damascus And it's just this little doorway when We come inside

Amazing in here in here you can like Feel how old the shop is by these walls It's like a warehouse back here all These boxes and these guys are just here Working all day look is this What do you enjoy the most about your Job do they like interacting with people And seeing the people from all around The world are they your designs or you Came up with everything 150 PC is this one here wow so how long Does it take to make one I don't want to Make one yes two months to make one yeah That's a lot of work yeah yeah one 150 Two months and how much how much money For that 99 900 Nine four thousand nine thousand yeah Much to my surprise they haven't taken Any time off not even during the peak of The war a few years ago like explosions Were flying above their heads and they Were like hiding but so they kept Working so you never stopped you never Closed the shop no they didn't and what Happened to the business during the hard Years They never had the idea that they would Close their shoes Antonio he like insisted I take more Pictures in the middle of the interview Because I take more pictures Yeah one two three that's amazing Oh my God yeah yeah you take this That's amazing yeah three players I'm

Having so much fun in the shop that I Don't really want to leave these guys so Welcoming they're just smiling telling Jokes and Play poker yeah there's a picture on the Wall there's a dog playing poker it Warms my heart to know how amazing these People are Ask them if their hands ever get tired Many people watching this video they're Scared of Syria what can you say about Your country This is their land their people their Culture so they love it in every Detailing This is a story of Courage a story of Happiness and a story of inspiration the Fact that anyone can dedicate their Entire existence into perfecting one Form of art is beyond my imagination and It's been an absolute pleasure to spend This lovely afternoon in this shop Okay so we've been invited for a cup of Tea now they're so nice yeah So sweet and delicious bye-bye thank you So much Oh that was so amazing we just spent Like a full hour hour and a half with Those guys in their shop So friendly guy to how friendly are they Very like like a lot I didn't want to Leave I really didn't want to leave They're just so genuine like the smile On their face um and I'm just very happy

Any history lovers out there Syria has Six UNESCO world heritage sites that Will make you feel like you've entered a Time machine back thousands of years It's time to learn about perhaps the Most famous ancient wonder of them all Good morning guys today we are road Tripping two hours from Damascus to the Cactus Chevrolet which is known as one Of the most important and well preserved Medieval castles in the world here we go Yala [Applause] Foreign [Music] Just keep walking around around and so Many different little turns and corners And Views so now I'm on the highest Point of the crackhead Chevrolet it's Amazing it's the inside of the castle Here The views behind in fact today we are Supposed to go to Palmyra one of the Best displays of an ancient Roman city On Earth but there was a security issue And we weren't able to go so plan B was Visiting this castle and it turned out To be spectacular welcome To Syria thank you very much how do you Feel here I have been here many times Before but every time I come here this Castle impresses me it's amazing the Site was first inhabited in the 11th Century by the Kurdish at its peak it

Used to host about 2 000 people which is Actually nothing considering the massive Size of this thing is Medieval castle located in the west of Homes about 60 kilometer in 2006 this Registered as world-handed heritage site By UNESCO this is the most preserved Medieval castle in the world it feels Like I'm in like a European Cathedral Look at this architecture and the way The structure is made there is a moat Which was a source of water you can see The aqueduct all the way out there and How they get the water in here this Caved a provided by holes just throw the Hot oil and the rust of the enemy it Burns them Over the last thousand years it's been Taken over by seven parties before being Claimed by the Syrian opposition in 2012 During the Civil War sadly many parts of This world heritage site were destroyed But thankfully it's already being Rebuilt you can see the bullet holes Even on the sign you can't see this Whole unfortunately it was attacked During this war really either to the Rest destroy of the castle here because Of one bomb here the night hole it's Here too there is some damage happen Finally it was taken back over by the Syrian government forces in 2014. you Know I've traveled a lot I've seen a lot Of cool monuments and buildings and

Historical landmarks but it just always Amazes me how they remain so well intact This thing is like a thousand years old The the architecture the details all of The the old places they used to eat eat The bathrooms are all still here this is The toilet toilet wow not to mention we Are the only ones around there's nobody Else here my Syrian road trip continued Northbound to the small town called Sadad it's one of the only fully Christian villages in Syria and I met One man the former mayor who is Single-handedly responsible for saving 8 000 lives my name is The former mayor of Sadat Syria we are So proud because we were the very first Christian town to defeat Isis ever Foreign Well I did everything but being a mayor I was maybe a military leader I was Everything but a mayor but we had to do What we had to do we needed the together Some type of militia to defend ourselves Against Isis talk about where your town Is located in Syria and talk about During the time you were mayor like what Was the situation like here in Sada so That is located close to the highway Between Damascus and homes and it has a Strategical importance because once you Take over it you can cut the main Highway between the capitals and Damascus and the north homes and IBO and

Everything we have a complete Christian Town live among Muslim towns most of Them are France but we suffered one from One town that hate us a lot and they Went with Isis they attacked us they Want to kill us and kidnap all the women And the children in 2013 actually Japanese And a free Syrian Army got into Sadat For a whole week and we was we lost like 44 civilians they got into the town they Occupied the town for a whole week we Fought see this room I can show you Some of the bullets still here there it Is right in this room where those are Bullets This so they were shooting inside of Your house yeah Wow those are bullet holes yeah Jesus Christ look at that what were you in the House when it was getting shot no I was With my men fighting my mom that was my Mom's room what the hell Man you see those bullets actually I Have like a thousand and this wow Wow so they they targeted you your house For sure with every house maybe they Were mostly every house plus my house so We scared that you were gonna die Um actually it's the feeling like you Walking dead you don't make those Differences I mean between death and Life we came up to the point we don't Know are we alive or dead really yeah I

Mean you walk in the the bottle in the Field uh you hear that whistle when the When when bullets passes through you Around you you hear a whistle like This is bullet just passed beside you And you know what I tell my man you Always feel happy when you hear those Muscles because you're still alive that Bullet that kills you you don't hear so Was it normal you just see like dead Bodies on the street and yeah look I Consider myself a normal human being But After those battles with those ices and What we've seen from them and how many Civilians they killed and how many of my Men I hope nobody Experienced this this feeling but you Feel like you aren't just a machine you Are just a hundred meter behind the Troops just to lead them what about There you see some people just dying in Front of you it's supposed to have to Pay I came up to the point I can kill a Pregnant woman I lost my Humanity I admit it I admit it Now I regret it but at the time I mean You are winning War man nothing human Anymore nothing Humane in the world you Know it's hard for me to comprehend this Because you know I've never been there And we never have to worry about any Sort of danger from 2013 to 2015 two Exact years I was gathering men training Them paying some salaries and keep them

Around the town and because of you Isis Didn't capture the town basically I was So honored I played a little role there I let few Heroes to their Victory their The real heroes who defeated Isis who Gave up their lives for hours I was so Honored to lead them I engaged like Three four times almost got killed most Of them that doesn't make me a real hero Or a soldier they are heroes they have This this their Destiny I just LED them From 0.8 And so then when when did when was Isis Defeated in your brain I is really Defeated by 2017 or 16 by the end of 16. The turning point I would say the Turning point is defeating Isis also That Sadat was the very first small town Ever to stop Isis when Isis tried to Take al-musul in Iraq a big city they Took it they tried to take a Russian Syria and they took it in 24 hours when They tried against a hundred men of Sadat 100 believers they were defeated And this is when they started down and Congrats man I'm telling you and guess What for two months we fought so hard And with the support of Syrian Army but Isis brought the hell of their troops Against because we defeated them it's Something Emotional for them it's It's a big defeat for them but thank you Russia actually Russia helped anyone

With their airplanes they support us With mortars from airplanes you know I Have two Nexus on Iran and husband and Russia at the time when in my my town on The line I was willing to shake the Devil hand itself but most likely all The hands around me was were devils Anyway so no matter what you're saying Doesn't matter you have to keep it down I feel so blessed to save those 8 000 Lives well amazing work I don't really Know what else to tell you and you know That already I want to talk about you more personally So how long did you spend in the US nine Years nine years and why did you go There the first time it's always the American dream making money as quick as Possible good answer yeah and I was Almost graduated as a civil engineer so I said okay instead of attempting my Future in a third world country let's Step up to America make some money and Get back so this is the million dollar Question you lived in the U.S for 10 Years or nine years and then why on Earth did you come back to Syria during A War and why did you not want to go Back to the United States of America I Would say it's a message from God I Really cannot answer that question what Were I thinking when I run a free Election to win a male position it's Impossible at the time every time I

Think about it I said it's just a chain Chain of consequences that led to safe To stop is there any message that you Want to say about Syria that you want Other people to think about Syria guys You need to take those American European Economy all sanctions of Syria your Politics claim that those sanctions hurt Basham Assad in his regime maybe they Fight terrorism this way no it does help Hurt the Syrian people it hurt us we Cannot even find baby milk for our Children we cannot have good medicine in The market our currency was crushed so If you mean to hurt I said trust me he Still can eat three meals a day he lived In his castle balance whatever you want To call it but for us it does hurt us a Lot so this is not Humane this is not a Good message to receive from our Feelings in the western world Thank you so much my heart is heavy Hearing soliman's story it's really Heartbreaking what these innocent Syrian People have been living through for the Last decade they Remain the most Resilient people on Earth and are hoping For a better tomorrow to keep things Positive I headed westbound towards the Beach yes Syria has a beach a long Coastline and it's stunning it is a Beautiful morning here in Syria we are Looking at the amazing Mediterranean Sea And it's funny because when you think

About the Mediterranean you think about Many countries such as turkey Italy Greece Egypt even Spain but I bet you That you don't think about Syria and to Be honest with you the sea is incredible Right now I see old men below me fishing I see people kayaking in the sea you got The breeze which brings the smell of the Fish here and you got amazing Restaurants here along the coast hotels It really has the potential to be a Paradise for tourism today we are road Tripping down the majority of the Western coast of Syria starting in the Takia and the North and going down to Tartus in the South so we're going to be Seeing almost all of the Mediterranean In cultural care which is very different From northern Syria Eastern Syria Central Syria even Southern Syria [Music] Let me reiterate that I have just found The Hidden Gem of the Mediterranean and Man it's just beautiful here like you Have these incredible views look at the Buildings behind me the seaside areas Have been the most stable region in the Country and the Syrian government has Even promoted tourism here in recent Years and yes I can confirm that it's That amazing we're walking on the Boardwalk by the beach here and we saw This guy selling some teeth to try so we Just ordered a few glasses and we're

Gonna just chill onto these umbrellas And watch the beautiful view of the sea And there's actually an island out there If you look in the distance there's kind Of a big island you would never expect Syria to be like this never but it's Incredible of course like elsewhere in Syria the people are so friendly and Will always strike up a friendly Conversation with you even the military I'm 28. Nice people speak English yeah of course They do that's how we're doing here I'm Just traveling around it's a beautiful Country really beautiful the people are Amazing and I'm just happy thank you Very much I'm from us USA yeah I have a lot of Friends from USA from Chicago oh yeah Now the next time you think of Syria you Can remember pristine beaches and Chill Vibes I continue my road trip farther up North to my favorite Syrian city called Aleppo this next part will take you on An emotional rollercoaster from good to Bad and everything in between for some Background info Aleppo used to be Syria's biggest city and economy before The war with 2.3 million people but Since the Arab Spring happened in 2011 It's become the centerpiece of Destruction where the vast majority of The city is now in Rubles and millions Of ordinary people have been forced to

Flee their homes for safety now we are In the old Square in all the depot it Has been destroyed because of the war in 2010 if I came here right now what's it Going to be like in 2010 here you'll Find like a lot of people you will not Have place just to see it this is one of The suits one of the suits they are Really trying to make it as it was Faithfully as it was before you can just Imagine what it used to be like For all those years and now it's just Completely gutted out and empty it's Disturbing It's horrible [Music] The civilians who stayed around were Living with minimal food water fuel and Electricity as grocery stores hospitals And schools were bombed so this square Right here Is that now The Battle of Aleppo lasted until just Three years ago the main part at least Fighting is still happening nearby here Is written in Russian mean it means no Minds no Minds as hard as I try to stay Away from politics it's impossible not To ask questions and have sympathy for The people here after spending two days In Aleppo I made this video as an effort To showcase the beauty of one of the World's oldest cities that was once a Hot spot on the Silk Road everything

You're about to see is based entirely Off my own personal travel experiences As an American Tourist in Aleppo so here We go [Music] Behind me you can see the incredible Aleppo Citadel which dates back Thousands and thousands of years and It's just this monstrous structure and It's crazy because everything in front Of my eyes right now is destroyed but The Citadel has remained intact for all These years so now it's time to explore We're gonna go inside the Citadel right Now A few places I've seen are This Magnificent I'm almost at a loss of Words for how beautiful it is you can Really feel the history when you are Inside of these ancient walls going to The very top Oh man Holy crap but as great as the views may Be I'm constantly reminded of the danger Around me and every two minutes we can Hear a bomb go off and it's just 10 50 Kilometers that way and it's crazy it's Like They're Boom Beach it's from here it can Be until here to the park yes close to Our house because the Turks recently Used to give them More modern weapons after the Citadel we Hit the streets to see what we could

Discover standing on this amazing Corner In Aleppo it's really cool because you Had this massive Moss behind me and then There's two churches one in every Direction so it just shows the diversity Of the city so my friend Joseph here is Going to take me to get some good street Food in Aleppo Foreign [Music] [Music] Tour didn't end there because after all Aleppo has the best food in all Syria we Are known by our food what's your Favorite Pokemon We went straight into this small Restaurant for lunch [Music] We're sitting now at a restaurant This is my favorite actually we just saw On the back he was making it really Fresh The last snack of the day was some fresh Corn on the street because I've seen it Everywhere [Music] So here in Aleppo they're very famous For their olive oil soap it's a Tradition that's been passed down for Hundreds of years and on this street Behind me all these vendors are selling This incredible looking olive oil soap As I continue to walk around Aleppo it's Easy to tell that reconstruction is in

Full swing and there's already two fish Shops open right here behind me Especially the parts of the city that Were completely destroyed you can see Shop owners sweeping away the debris and Crafting the walls back to how they used To look Many streets are busy as can be and Schools are back in session [Music] It's been a very eye-opening day here in Aleppo full of emotions but if there's One takeaway I have from today that the Future is now and the people will come Together and have hope For a brighter future they're doing Everything they can to get back to a Normal life and I really wish them all The best I believe in the people of Aleppo at least they are really strong They just want to reveal everything in Their shop their houses absolutely Everything as much rebuilding and Optimism as there is in Aleppo it's Impossible to ignore the destruction and Constant threats that are around me I Wanted to do anything I could to meet Local people who are in danger help them Out and share their stories I entered Inside a neighborhood that was Completely destroyed and the story Starts from here good morning everyone Today I am here in Aleppo Syria in one Of the many destructive neighborhoods

And I'm going to be meeting with a few Locals hearing their stories about what They suffered what they went through and Then telling you about how they're going To rebuild everything moving forward so This is going to be a very difficult Video to make my hands are shaking right Now just holding the camera by what I'm Looking at right now but I think their Stories need to be heard The war in Syria is devastating it's Estimated that rebuilding the entire Nation would cost upwards of 250 billion Dollars as buildings historical sites And cities are now in ruins my goal Today was to meet with some locals and Share their stories I met with several Volunteers who allowed me to join in as They rebuild homes and bring gifts to The elderly Now we are in Aleppo in the neighborhood That called Boston Basha we are Rebuilding houses and here is the Borders of Frontline during the war Boston Basha was hold by jabata nusra Al-Qaeda in Syria so you are in the Heart of a real strong battle that was Happening in Aleppo walking through the Streets in this neighborhood and it's Just completely gutted and destroyed It's it's sad it's really sad can you Explain what happened this time of the Situation that happened here [Music]

2012 on August they just left the house And they came after seven years to just See it like this It wasn't like electricity or water or Any food but they didn't have any Solution we just escaped from these Neighborhoods so they didn't have Choice Wow the volunteers have been here Rebuilding her home to ensure that she Can get back to the life she once had so We have like a kind of list of people Who are really in need and who really Need their building they are flat to be Rebuilt so that's why we decided to come In this particular effect how does it Feel to do you know about it sucks Because these people here they suffer a Lot from from the war and if we can just Do a little thing like this just kidding And help them to to bring something new It's the least that we can do then we Walked over to another lady's home to Greet her and spend some time together I'm happy to see you I'm happy to meet you also Thank you thank you her legs became this Large as a result from depression and Not being mobile she has been sitting Right here without her family for Several years but amazingly she has the Energy to greet us and tell us stories About her hardships so if she was left Here all by herself yeah Everybody your family left outside yeah

This is a problem so she was sad and Because of sadness she became excited The son of her sister and the son of her Brother they were both kidnapped yes but Not together one he was going to see his Shop here in Aleppo and they asked money For like ten thousand dollars and after He came back they kidnapped the son of Her brother and they asked can I get 12 000 to give him back so they took all The money that they have Before We Say Goodbye the volunteers left her with a Long time supply of diapers and I will Never forget the Joy on her face lastly We met with another young man from a Nearby Town who lost everything It was Surrounded by the terrorists and they Were attacking them every time they were Drinking mate and smoking once a Terrorists took the house with a was a Missing like right where we're standing Right here It was here like right here red below Our feet so now what's the process like To rebuild SOS Uh our association that is helping him Uh to rebuild the house and to make it Like it was before as soon as I turned Off my camera after that interview I Mean five seconds later a bomb just went Off that must have been a few miles away And nobody seemed to be freaking out but

It's just not something that I'm used to Hearing I guess the SOS volunteers are Here getting their hands and feet dirty Carrying sand inside to fix his home [Music] Foreign You can really see the hope and desire In the eyes of each person we met with They just want to move on especially Here in Aleppo the city is being Reconstructed so life can get back to Normal yeah it's incredible because you Can't see just one shop and sometimes One shop is just a man who is who is Just silly yeah just right here yeah you See that from their own they say do it Alone without any help to sell some Potatoes some vegetables but it means That lives is coming back 10 years ago 15 years ago you had a shop right here Since 80 years old 80 and what do you Sell biscuits and some cleaning stuff What's your plan for coming forward For him like some of the people they Just left Syria some of people get some Of people want to return back but for Him he said like this is my job this is My work this is my shop so of course I Will reopen it and be with it even if it Doesn't work well it's been very Humbling to sit down with these people And hear their stories and they're just So incredibly touching Um and sad to be honest and it's also

Amazing what SOS is doing I really Enjoyed spending the day with them but More needs to be done as Syria remains Fragile and vulnerable can't imagine What it would be like to to you hear That that's Mark gunfire and I'm getting Used to it at this point but anyways What I was saying was I can't imagine What it would be like to to be in their Shoes and lose uh family members and Loved ones and and their houses and Everything all their possessions but They might be the strongest people that I've ever met in my life and it's it's Great to see I made my way back to Damascus for the last few days of my Trip to reflect on the amazing things I've done so far and also to binge eat Because the food in the city is to die For but this specific meal that I'm About to share with you is special and You're about to see why a few days ago I Received an invitation to go to a Syrian House for a home-cooked lunch and I'm Thrilled because Syrian Cuisine is one Of the best in the world so right now I Am on my way I have no idea what to Expect but I know that it's going to be Delicious so here we go on this amazing Journey into a Syrian house [Music] A guy to who you might remember I was With her in Damascus last week so Guida Where are we right now we're in a suburb

Called stated and we're gonna meet a Friend awesome and where is the friend's House I think it's over there up here Okay here we go Hey Hey how you doing nice to meet you hello Drew you're welcome nice to meet you man Hello how are you hello nice to meet you Hi how are you this family is so sweet And made me feel right at home we Chatted for a while and they told me They're going to make kibe one of the Best Syrian dishes that I've yet to try Fadi invited me to go with him to the Market to get the ingredients and of Course my answer was yes yeah Absolutely and now we are in the middle Area it's very famous about food we are Taking some stuff to make the food in The house thank you I just followed Along as we went from shop to shop Getting all kinds of meats and delicious Foods I have no further words to explain How amazing this food looks so cue the Music and just watch [Music] Thank you every time when I want to Bring me to my my house I bring it from Here but why this one there's so many Images this one I trust him very much And he sell a lot of meat so he has Always fresh meat amazing how do you Take me to a vegetable market that's Under the freeway here and we're just

Surrounded by all kinds of vegetables it Just looks amazing oh my God So Fresh So Good biggest pomegranate I've ever seen This one yeah we're getting some Vegetables from Vietnam Bridge okay Thank you All fruits and vegetables that we got so Much we brought everything back to the House and it was time to get cooking in The kitchen the women are preparing Different kinds of kibbe which I quickly Learned is like a meat pie in the shape Of little balls or patties [Music] Step number one is making the dough from Grinding meat mixed with onions and Spices they use this meat dough as an Outside layer to add more meat inside if That doesn't make sense to you keep Watching until the end and it will She said she likes to cook and she's Known that all her meals are very very Delicious sorry that I purposely didn't Eat breakfast because I'm so excited to Eat the meal foreign Meat and also beef meat mixed together To make very nice food from typical in Syria it smells so good over here and This Grill it's just like such a unique Treat here it's like meat covered in Meat with spices a true Syrian delicacy And I cannot wait to eat it [Music] As a different kinds of kibe are being

Prepared like this one with 100 raw meat And this huge baked pie so are the many Other amazing Syrian dishes which I Cannot wait to try we're just preparing For the salad Peppers cucumber and Tomatoes and finally everything was Placed nicely on the table and we were Ready to eat This one and this one it's like a little Boiled with water this is a grill and we Have wine and arak all right It's a Syrian drink it's made from Grapes the volume of it is a little Heavy I'm gonna try the key band now Foreign I just cannot even comprehend or explain To you how good this is it's like the Best meatball you've ever had with Walnuts inside onions kind of how do you Feel right now well I'm hungry here so Well so I'm excited I don't know which One to eat first so much good stuff on The plates I can die happy now this is Like the oven baked artistic looking Yogurt and hummus on it So good thank you amazing I'm so happy Serious thank you so much Thank you guys I was so full from that Meal and everyone was so kind and Hospitable I spent more than five hours At that house and let's just say that The Iraq that they kept feeding me was Pretty strong the one thing that I Didn't highlight in that meal however is

Dessert it's never in my life A country with more sugary treats than Syria so if you have a sweet tooth then You might want to watch this video until The end I feel good oh my God My favorite Syrian sweets is madlua my Favorite Syrian sweet is and of course You have to try knife so walking here in The middle of the street and there's Just a table with a basket of treats on Top it's like Halloween you can just Come and take whatever you want and it's Amazing the streets of Damascus are Saturated in candy shops one after Another after another we're in this Candy shop right now and it just smells Like heaven in here oh my God the sweets Come in all different colors shapes Sizes and textures they're um chickpeas Sugar coated and I'm seeing many of These candies for the very first time That is what you call a true Syrian Innovation this is the famous Syrian Suite called barazak everybody talks About it I've never had it before I'm Gonna try it now Hmm it's like a really thin wafer cookie With peanuts on top and caramel I haven't eaten breakfast yet and our Sweetness binge is already getting Started So we're here in the old city of Damascus and my good friend gaida has Taken me to get maybe the most special

Syrian sweets and what's it called it's Called It's Made of adult made of semolina and Cheese underneath and on it they put a Syrup made of sugar out of first glance It looks like a pancake with ice cream On top it's much better So now I have this delicious plate of Kanapa and I'm gonna I'm gonna give it a Go And it just looks incredible [Music] It's very cheesy and sweet at the same Time it's also very filling we just had Lunch and I don't think I can eat any More after another stroll through the Markets I found something that I've Never seen before So amazing my GoPro is covered in this Stuff now I mean have you ever seen Sugar that looks like this this sweet Lady convinced me to dive in as well as A kid working behind the table okay so We're gonna try some Syrian cotton candy That's that's not a little bit that's a Lot of it [Music] Really tastes like cotton candy it has That texture like that fluffy texture I've never had anything like this before In my life and finally I've apparently Saved the best Syrian dessert for last We're waiting at night to eat the most Famous ice cream in Syria look at this

Lime Oh my God They're pushing oh Jesus Christ [Music] Because they have to carry the ice cream Over their head because there's so many People so is that pistachios on top Best thing about this ice cream is the Creamy You can just tell that this recipe of This ice cream has been passed down Generation after generation after Generation and it is fantastic in a Sense the candy industry is one of the Few that survived the toughest of times As the economy tanked and it's something That all syrians can Bond over because Whenever there's candy there's Smiles Wait actually they smile no matter what I can't say it enough but Syria is Amazing at this point I sound like a Broken record but it's just the truth if You are still with me after an hour of Watching this video I challenge you to Count how many times I've said the word Syria in this documentary and comment Your answer below I will be choosing a Winner at random to get a signed Postcard sent from my house to yours Alright guys to wrap up one of the best Trips of my life I want to share with You all the amazing gifts that I Received from my new Syrian friends if There's one thing I've learned over the

Last two weeks it's that Syria is the Country of gifts Foreign Actually like here you will never ever Seek for food like if you are hungry you Can just mark on random people's doors They will give you food even if you are A foreigner you are poor you are rich it Doesn't even matter as I've traveled Around Syria from Damascus to Aleppo Homes Latakia Tartus sadad malula and Many villages in between the thing that Stood out the most to me was a Generosity of the people I unexpectedly received 16 things for Free without asking for any of them Until now I always said that pakistanis Were the number one gift givers but now The torch might be passed over to the Syrians yeah Habibi what's her name Drew Drew Drew thank you Yes the more you take pictures the more We love you so now I'm going to tell you 16 short stories of gifts I've received Starting with day one in Damascus [Music] When I bought pomegranate juice from a Street vendor the owner gave me some Fava beans to eat for free extremely Good when I made the story on Antonio And Abraham in their Mosaic Shop they Gave me free tea before I left well guys Okay so we've been invited for a cup of Tea now I walked into a random souvenir

Shop to interview the owner I told him That I collect drink coasters and he Insisted that I take a set for free no No no no no don't have to give a gift Yeah why it's good it's like it's Syrian To give gifts to strangers that was a Real situation that just happened just So so so kind like deeply in their heart Kind when I was walking a random street In Damascus someone put out free candy For anyone to grab it's like Halloween Can just come and take whatever you want And it's amazing when I walked into a Candy shop the owner gave me free but I Was at cookies to try [Music] A really thin thick wafer cookie with Peanuts on top and caramel in downtown Damascus I walked to an outdoor candy Vendor and he gave me free dried figs When I checked out of my hotel they Surprisingly gave me a free bottle of Wine and Juice when I was in Aleppo I Saw these kids pushing carts of oranges And they threw me some in the middle of The street Awesome no no that's enough that's Enough it's okay thank you you keep Throwing oranges thank you you want me To pay Yeah no thank you also in Aleppo when I Visited a family they gave me a free Chocolate bar in the town of tsuka Lafia I spent time with another family and

They gave me free mate tea and snacks Oreos and biscuits I really love that Lady she said welcome to Really happy to to see you and I can cry For what you are doing I can't cry That's so sweet thank you so much Many people in my country are scared of Syria but I'm trying to show them that It's really a beautiful country We hope that the war will end in Syria And everything will be good and I see All the peoples they will come to Syria And we will welcome them I will come Then in my house they will sleep inside The house and like me I will step on the Door In the village of sadad I went to a Random lady's house and she gave us Arabic coffee and treats In the beautiful town of malula I was Given free chai which was extra nice Because it's really cold there tea time Thank you my friend Back in Damascus I went to a meat shop To get ingredients to make kibbe and the Owner's kid made me free coffee then I Walked into a candy shop and I was given Free harassette sweets when I took a Taxi ride across Damascus the driver Offered me a sip of his fresh hot chai That was a first for me and why not [Music] And lastly I visited a small souvenir Shop in the old city with my friend

Gaida hi How are you the owner invited us in the Back for tea and I told him that I Collect banknotes and I like this one And he wouldn't let me leave without Getting some for free how amazing is That I said like you're you're his guest so You won't pay wow thank you so much You're so nice watch this we're gonna Leave the shop and I'm gonna try to pay Him and see if he'll accept my money and I'm almost sure that he won't this is For you for the tea and everything Foreign Thank you see you next time guys for the Record I never asked or requested for Any of these gifts it's pretty much Customary to offer visitors something For free and this can tell you something About Syrian people as a whole they are So hospitable that they will offer you Everything they have even if they don't Have much whether you're a fellow Syrian Or a foreigner it's truly remarkable and I am so touched I'm really sad to leave Syria tomorrow it has been a Life-changing trip and this country will Always have a special place right here In my heart thanks for watching guys and I will see you later Foreign [Music]

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