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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 24 January 2021

Syrian stars turn out for the funeral of Hatem Ali in Damascus

Bassem Yakhour and Taim Hassan were among the actors to attend the ceremony in the Syrian capital

Bassem Yakhour, Ghassan Massoud and Taim Hassan were among the stars at the funeral of director and actor Hatem Ali yesterday.

Also in attendance at the ceremony, which took place in Damascus, Syria, were actresses Muna Wassef and Sulaf Fawakherji with her husband Wael Ramadan.

The filmmaker passed away in Egypt on Tuesday, December 29, after suffering a heart attack. He was 58.

Yakhour posted a video of the funeral procession on Instagram, with the caption: "The spirit does not disappear even if the body is gone. Goodbye Hatem Ali".

Actress Yara Sabri also shared a video of the funeral, writing simply: "God be with you, thank you, Hatem."

Many stars have paid tribute to the director, who was celebrated for shows such as Al-Zeer Salem and Salah Aldeen AlAyyobi.

Actor Taim Hassan described the actor's death as an "irreparable loss".

Who was Hatem Ali?

Born in the Golan Heights in 1962, Ali was displaced with his family from the area after it was captured by Israel in 1967 during the Six-Day War. His family then resettled in the outskirts of the Yarmouk Camp.

Ali began his artistic career by writing plays as well as short stories before obtaining his bachelor’s degree in acting from the Higher Institute of Dramatic Arts in Damascus in 1986.

In 1990, he married Syrian writer and human rights activist Dalaa Al Rahbi, with whom he had two sons.

Ali set his focus on directing in the mid-1990s, releasing a number of feature-length films for television including Akher Al Lail (The Last Part of The Night), for which he won the Best Director award at the 1996 Cairo Radio and Television Festival. He won the same award a year later for his film Safar (Travel).

He became a household name in 2000 with the success of his show Al-Zeer Salem, a 40-episode series set in the pre-Islamic era.

However, it was his 2001 show Salah Aldeen AlAyyobi, telling the story of Saladin’s conquest of Jerusalem, which brought him regional attention, having been translated and broadcasted in Malaysia and Turkey, as well as in Somalia and Yemen in their local Arabic dialects.

In 2004, he released Al-Taghreba al-Falastenya, a historical drama series that revolves around the story of a Palestinian family during the time of the British occupation of Palestine and the events that follow. The show brought together high-profile Syrian actors including Khaled Taja, Hassan and Maxim Khalil.

It was then that Ali established himself as a director with an inimitable ability to tell gripping, historical stories.

Updated: January 3, 2021 05:09 PM

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