Inside Radio Alwan
As the crisis in their country continues, Sara Davies joins the producers and presenters of a Syrian radio station broadcasting back into Syria from their exile in Istanbul.
As the crisis in their country continues, Sara Davies joins the producers and presenters of a Syrian radio station in exile in Istanbul who are providing a daily Sara Davies joins the producers and presenters of a Syrian radio station in exile in Istanbul who have been providing a daily lifeline for their listeners inside Syria and around Europe.
Radio Alwan began in 2013 as a small community radio station in Northern Syria, broadcasting independent information in response to the repression and civil war that followed the demonstrations of 2011. At first the station only broadcast for four hours a day from a transmitter mounted on a van, but before long was increasing its hours and its audience. When the political conflict worsened and the situation for independent media became dangerous Alwan's founder, Ahmad Al-Kaddour, was forced, along with many others, to leave the country.
Now broadcasting from an undisclosed address in a busy district of Western Istanbul, Radio Alwan transmits daily programmes on its FM frequency back into Syria to areas around Aleppo and Idlib and over the internet. It is staffed by young producers and presenters, almost all of whom have had to leave their country under difficult circumstances and some of whom have little hope of seeing their homes again. Over the last four years the station has suffered attacks on its Syrian offices and transmitters,
Alwan in Arabic means 'colours', a name the station wants to reflect in its aim of representing the many different groups across Syrian society. It offers its audience independent news and political coverage, but also entertainment and drama, and broadcasts a weekly drama serial, Sad Northern Nights, that follows the fortunes of a Syrian mother and her teenage son as they become caught up in the war inside the country.
Since this programme was first broadcast, Alwan FM has recently managed to re-establish a studio in the city of Saraqib, near Idlib, from where it runs a 3-hour daily live programme.
Produced by Sara Davies.
A Cast Iron Radio production for BBC Radio 3.