A Larne-born journalist working in a war zone is seeking support for the people of Syria.
Yasmin Al Tellawy, a past pupil of Larne Grammar Prep and St. MacNissis’s College Garron Tower, has been so moved by the plight of refugees and other victims in this Middle Eastern country that she is appealing for help closer to home.
Yasmin has launched her “Trust Love and Peace” foundation in a bid to gain widespread support.
To boost her fundraising efforts, she has taken part in the recent Paris Marathon.
Yasmin has been based in Syria for the past two-and-a-half years where the atrocities are continuing on a daily basis.
One of the most shocking recent development, she says, is the use of barrel bombs: barrels packed with explosives, being dropped into towns from the air.
She claims that at least two hundred people are killed in equally horrific circumstances every day.
The conflict began in 2011 after locals took to the streets to protest when 15 schoolchildren were arrested - and reportedly tortured - for writing anti-government graffiti on a wall.
The government responded angrily, and the army opened fire on protesters, killing four people. The following day, they shot at mourners at the victims’ funerals, killing another person.
Since then, the United Nations has estimated that more than 100,000 people have died in clashes between President Bashar al-Assad’s government and rebel forces who want him out, some of which are allied to al-Qaeda.
Yasmin says that she is determined to show the world the human suffering which has resulted from the ongoing conflict.
She has produced documentaries, films and photographic evidence of the horrors of war for media giants such as CNN, Channel 4 and Euronews.
She added: “I have never seen tragedy like I have from my time working in Syria and the surrounding regions. I could never have imagined so much suffering in our world, I could never imagine such brutality and violence as I have witnessed.
“But I believe I can share these experiences with others in the hope that you will embrace humanity, that you will give love, and use this power to help those in need. I believe our world needs more truth, peace and love and this is why I started this organisation.”
Yasmin is deeply moved by harrowing personal accounts of those who have lost husbands, wives, children or parents and are left homeless when their homes have been shelled and are left to survive on dangerous streets with nowhere to go.
“Sometimes you go down the street and there is an air attack and you have to run for cover and you see a child lying the street who has been hit. It is hard to believe such things are happening. It can be very graphic.
“I just want to show what is happening to them. I set up the foundation mainly to assist rape victims.
“The love I have been shown from those who have lost everything and more is the most beautiful gem I could ever encounter.
“On April 6, I ran the Paris Marathon for the people of Syria who desperately need more help. All funds raised will directly help families who are most vulnerable. I know just how desperately funds are needed to help these people.
“Please don’t turn a blind eye to the people of Syria, they need support to get through this difficult time and be able to have a future again. See more at: http://www.youcaring.com/nonprofits/paris-marathon-run-to-help-the-people-of-syria-/133903#sthash.pFCkmboa.dpuf”