The Secret Of Syria’s Underground Library (

Books have long been considered a salve for the soul, but in Syria that has been made literal. In the Damascus suburb of Darayya, people are dodging bullets, shrapnel, and shells in order to reach a hidden, underground library stocked with volumes saved from bombed buildings. Accessed by descending a steep flight of steps into a dimly lit room of a damaged building, this secret library nourishes those who otherwise go hungry – it feeds them with learning, inspiration, and, crucially, hope.

Largely founded by students in their mid-20’s whose education was interrupted by the beginning of the siege of Darayya nearly four years ago, the volunteers have gathered over 14,000 books on pretty much every subject. In that time, more than 2,000 people, mainly civilians, have been killed. 8,000 people remain in the suburb, from 80,000 originally: they cannot leave now […]

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