“Surrender or Die. Besieged areas in Syria”

The hardship of Syrian besieged areas transported to the European Parliament!

From May 8 to May 12 2017, ASML/Syria co-organized an event at the European Parliament, showcasing photos and 360° movies of life under siege in Syria. The aim was to bring up the issue of siege in Syria, and particularly the unacceptable living conditions in besieged areas.

Over 913.000 Syrians live in 37 areas that are besieged by the Syrian government, pro-government militias and armed opposition groups (March 2017). The UN Commission of Inquiry for Syria (CoI) has accused the warring parties of a deliberate “surrender or starve” strategy aimed at the surrender of such areas and the forced displacement of inhabitants. The fall of East Aleppo in December 2016 is the most prominent illustration of this deliberate military strategy to date.

The exhibition Surrender or Die. Besieged areas in Syria features the work of Syrian photographers living in Syria. Most of them were students or ordinary civilians at the beginning of the crisis in 2011. Thanks to the work of NGOs and Syrian Civil Society Organisations, they were trained during the conflict and became more professional. The opening of our exhibition has attracted many MEPs and public figures interested in the topic.


The photographs expose how Syrians face relentless bombing, siege, shortages, and displacement in their own country. They also highlight how populations have come up with creative solutions to everyday challenges in order to survive.


We also showed our Virtual Reality film Nobel’s Nightmare, immersing the viewer into besieged Aleppo thanks to 360-degree technology.

This exhibition was co-produced by ASML/Syria, 11.11.11 and the SMART News Agency and co-hosted by MEPs Bart Staes and Marietje Schaake. Bart Staes, Marietje Schaake and Tunne Kelam, starring in the video, share their vision of Europe’s role in the resolution of the Syrian conflict.

The event took place only days before the vote of the new European Union’s strategy towards Syria. The resolution which was voted on May 18 2017 is crucial as it insists on the need for a broader humanitarian aid as well as a political transition towards democracy.