2019-12-30

Over thousands of camel shepherds have fled Syria to the European Union, crossing the sea and mountains to seek refuge following the tragic ongoing war, that has changed their lifestyle with loss of camels to illegal trafficking. 

In our imaginations, in Hollywood movies, and in every conversation, whenever we describe the Arab world; our thoughts go to two subjects: Camels and Sand.

For this story, Daham Alasaad and Mohammad Bassiki investigated how thousands of camels were illegally trafficked from Syria to neighbouring countries like Iraq, Jordan and Turkey.
 
In June 2019 they followed smugglers, merchants and camel brokers across the borders for six months to reveal how the Syrian conflict had contributed to an estimated loss of billions of dollars from the theft of camels.
 
Over thousands of camel shepherds have fled Syria to the European Union, crossing the sea and mountains to find safe shelter following the tragic ongoing war, that has changed their lifestyle with loss of camels to illegal trafficking. Because of this their ancient Bedouin tradition at the heart of the Levant desert has been destroyed. A cultural inheritance that is unique to the Middle East. 

For those that are affected, raising camels is a means of life. An integral part of their livelihood is at risk of being lost forever.

© Daham Alasaad 

Daham Alasaad

Daham Alasaad is an investigative journalist and filmmaker focusing on human rights violations, immigration and corruption. 

Mohammad Bassiki

Mohammad Bassiki is an Investigative Journalist and researcher focusing on policy analysis and economics of the Middle East. 

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