Music for peace

When Alaa fled war in Syria he refused to be separated from his violin. Little did he know his musical talent would become his lifeline.

After fleeing Syria, Alaa was offered a music scholarship in Italy.
© UNHCR/Federico Schlatter

In 2011 Alaa, now 29, fled the war in Syria to Lebanon carrying only his violin and a few belongings.

During the summer of 2015, when tens of thousands of Syrians crossed dangerous Mediterranean waters to reach Europe, Alaa got lucky. He was offered a summer music scholarship by Fabrica Communication Research Group in Italy. He gladly accepted. Over the last few months he has performed live concerts and even recorded his own album.

Music for Peace

"Everyone in this life loves music, am I wrong? If they listen to the music, they will listen to each other," Alaa says, referring to the different sides fighting in Syria.

Despite missing his family, who are split between Syria and Lebanon, Alaa decided to stay in Europe and seek asylum. He feels this is the only way he will have a chance at a career in music. In the meantime, the musical family hold regular jamming sessions with Alaa over Skype. Alaa's family had an art gallery and music space in Syria, but they have been destroyed in the conflict. His dream is to rebuild this space in Europe, to reunite with his family and to relive their happy memories.