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Haider Yazigi

Haidar Yaziji is the "son of Liwa'a Iskenderun", born in Antakya city 1946, he is well-known as the artist of realism.

He studied at the Plastic Arts Center in "Aleppo “and graduated in 1961 with honors of Master's degree in the Artistic Production of cinema and television movies in 1977.
-He won Master's degree in drawing and oil painting, 1977.
-He attained the Doctorate degree in drawing, directing and preparing the cartoon's films,1981.
-He studied at the Higher Institute of Cinematography about eleven years during which he won three certificates, including cinema , television and plastic arts.
-He worked as a lecturer at the Faculty of Fine Arts, besides he supervised the preparation of a group of students to specialize in cartoon films.
-He founded the first department of cartoon films in Syrian TV.
-He was appointed as the director of public relations at the Public Corporation for Radio and Television, 1989 - 2000.
-He participated in the preparation of all national parties, appointed as the director of "al-Mahabba “festival and director of  “First Syrian Song's Festival."
-He prepared and directed a number of television programs and cartoons films.

-He painted two panorama panels about the October War, one is shown in the edifice of the Unknown Soldier and the second in the Military Museum in Damascus.
-He is member of the Supreme Committee of the Collections of Artistic Works in Syria.
-He is the Chief of Plastic Artists in Syria since 2000.
-He is director of the Arab Radio and Television Training Center affiliated to the Arab States Broadcasting Union since 2001.



Artist Naim Ismail

He was born in the countryside of Antakya, Syria, in 1930. Naim Ismail was  considered as one of the most outstanding Syrian plastic artists . In 1953 , he graduated from the Faculty of Fine Arts in Istanbul, specialized in oil painting.

-1958-1970, he worked as an artistic  supervisor of  "Jaish al-Shaab" magazine .

- 1970 – 1979, he was appointed  as Fine Arts director  in the Syrian Ministry of Culture.
-1958 – 1970, he worked  as an art director and a journalism photographer , and after that  he became the artistic supervisor of " al-Mawqef al-Arabi" and " al-Maarefa" magazines.
-He was  assigned  as a teacher of  mosaics and  wall  photography at the Fine Arts  Faculty  in Damascus.

His works are displayed  in:
- Damascus and Aleppo Museums , and the Ministry of Culture in Syria.
- As private collections.
- The Palace of Nations in Geneva and in  the Archaeological Museum in Baku.

 Special exhibitions:
- Istanbul, Palace of the Governorate of 1954.
- Ankara, lounge Hlekon 1955.
- Damascus, the Association of Artists 1959.
- Damascus, the World Hall of Modern Art, 1960.
- Damascus, the World Hall of Modern Art, 1962.
- Damascus, the World Hall of Modern Art, 1966.
- Damascus, Arab Cultural Center, 1971.
- Homs, Arts Centre, 1971.
- Hama, the Cultural Center in 1972.

 Joint exhibitions:
- The Syrian Arab Modern Art  Exhibition , Moscow, Warsaw, Berlin, Prague, Budapest, Bucharest, 1958
- Sao Paulo Biennali, 1961
- the Supreme Council for the Arts Exhibition , Damascus, 1961.
- Alexandria Biennale for Mediterranean countries, 1961.
- Syrians artists in Sursock Museum , Beirut.
- The Syrian Arab Modern Art  Exhibition ,Baku, Azerbaijan, Soviet, 1968.
- Syrian Arab Modern Art Exhibition , Moscow, Leningrad, Warsaw, Berlin, Prague, Budapest, Bucharest, Belgrade, Sofia, and then West Berlin and Paris ,1968 - 1969.
- Syrian Arab Art , New York, 1967.
- Arab art , Kuwait 1969.
- Syrian Arab Art , Cairo 1969.
- Syrian Arab art , Tripoli, Libya, 1970.
- Exhibition  of The Three Years of the World Art , New Delhi, India 1970.
- International Festival of the Arts, Damascus ,Ornina ,1972.
- Arab art , Baghdad, 1972.
- Arab art , Kuwait, 1973.
- Syrian Art , the Syrian Association for Arts 1956.
- Exhibition of the top ten groups at the headquarters of the  Journalist Union 1970.

–Exhibition of  the top  ten groups  , Beirut, 1971.
Gallery –Exhibition of the top ten groups  , the Arab Cultural Center , Damascus , 1972.
- Joint Syrian Iraqi art in Baghdad and  then in Damascus in 1972.

State Prize of the Supreme Council of  Arts, 1968.

-In 1979 , Naim Ismail  died in Damascus, Syria.



Sidqi Ismail

Sidqi  Ismail was born in 1924 in  al-affan quarter  in the Syrian  city of Antakya.

-He received his first  education in  al-affan  district's  school and continued his secondary  study in Antakya  in 1936, then he  moved with his brother Adham to Aleppo where he  received a baccalaureate degree, the  Second Department of  Philosophy in 1943, and joined the Teacher Institute till 1948.

- He became a member of  the Faculty of Arts, Department of Philosophy, University of Damascus , and graduated in 1952, then  he  earned a bachelor's degree with honors and obtained a diploma of  education and was appointed as a teacher in Aleppo.

In 1954 he moved to Damascus. -

- He started publishing articles in newspapers and magazines since 1945, and then he  collected these  articles in a book entitled al-Yanabi (springs).

- Sidqi  issued his own newspaper (Al-Kalb) in 1956, it was classified as  a comic and critic manuscript  by his own handwriting. He  used  to distribute the copies of this manuscript  to his closer friends, and he continued in issuing  it  till his death in 1972.

- He married in 1957 from Mrs. Awatef al-Haffar, who  was in the Executive Office of the General Women's Union , and then an editor in chief of the  Arab women's magazine.

- Sedqi  struggled with some of  students in the national movement led by  the  thinker Zaki al-Arsuzi  against the conspiracy of extorting of  Liwa Iskenderun.

- In 1936 ,Sidqi was fired by one of the Turks and then he had an emergency surgery.

 - He worked as a teacher in primary and secondary schools and  in Teachers Institutions, besides his teaching  in the Syrian University until 1967.

- He was appointed in 1968 as Secretary of the Supreme Council for  arts, literature and social sciences in Damascus.

-In 1969, he  contributed to the establishment of the Arab Writers Union, and became the  Chairman of the Union in 1970. Also he was the  director and editor-in-chief  of  " al-Mawqef al-Arabi" magazine.

- He participated in a number of international seminars, conferences and literary Arab  festivals.

- Sidqi published his first book entitled (Rambo), which was about the famous French poet.

- He visited France, Italy, Yugoslavia, Turkey, Greece and Germany

- Sidqi  passed away after a heart attack while he was reviewing the text of the play ( The Days Of Salmon) at the Directorate of theaters in Damascus on 26.09.1972.


M. Wassouf


Antakya was known as Antioch in ancient times, as it was the place where the followers of Jesus Christ were called Christians for the first time. The city and its massive walls also played an important role during the Crusades.

Antioch is a historic city on the left bank of the Orontes River, 30 km from the Mediterranean coast in Iskenderun. It is of the most important cities in the history of Syria, where it was the capital of Syria before the Arab conquest in the seventh century and yet still the capital of the Syrian  Christian Churches.


According to Wikipedia, Antioch has been occupied by humans since the Calcolithic era (6th millennium BC),  Subsequent rulers of the area include King of Macedonia Alexander the Great who, after defeating the Persians in 333 BC, followed the Orontes south into Syria. The city of Antioch was founded in 300 BC, after the death of Alexander, by the Seleucid King Seleucus I Nicator. It had an important role as one of the largest cities in the Roman Empire and Byzantium, and was a key location of the early years of Christianity, the Antiochian Orthodox Church, the rise of Islam, and the Crusades.

The Crusaders' Siege of Antioch conquered the city and caused significant damage during the First Crusade. Although the city had a large Christian population, it was betrayed by Islamic allies of Bohemund, prince of Taranto. Following the defeat of the Turkish garrison, he became its overlord. It remained the capital of the Latin Principality of Antioch for nearly two centuries.

In 1268 it fell to the Egyptian Mamluk Sultan Baibars after another siege. Baibars proceeded to massacre the Christian population. In addition to suffering the ravages of war, the city lost its commercial importance because trade routes to the Far East moved north following the thirteenth-century Mongol conquests. Antioch never recovered as a major city, with much of its former role falling to the port city of Alexandretta (Iskenderun). An account of both cities as they were in 1675 appears in the diary of the English naval chaplain Henry Teonge.

In 1822 (and again in 1872), Antakya was hit by an earthquake and damaged. When Egyptian general Ibrahim Pasha established his headquarters in the city in 1835, it had only some 5,000 inhabitants. Supporters hoped the city might develop thanks to the Euphrates Valley Railway, which was supposed to link it to the port of Sueida (now Samandağı). However, such plans were doomed to come to naught. The city suffered repeated outbreaks of cholera due to inadequate infrastructure for sanitation. Later the city developed and rapidly resumed much of its old importance when a railway was built along the lower Orontes Valley.

Densely-built Antakya in 1912: the traditional Muslim city shows no trace of its Hellenistic planning. To the east, orchards (green) fill the plain.


Antakya is located on the banks of the Orontes River approximately 22 km (14 mi) inland from the Mediterranean coast. The city is in a valley surrounded by mountains, the Nur Mountains (ancient Amanos) to the north and Mount Keldağ (Jebel Akra to the south, with the 440 m high Mount Habib Neccar (ancient Silpius) forming its eastern limits. The mountains are a source of a green marble. Antakya is at the northern edge of the Dead Sea Rift and vulnerable to earthquakes.


The city enjoys a Mediterranean climate with hot and dry summers, and mild and wet winters; however due to its higher altitude, Antakya has slightly cooler temperatures than the coast.


M. Wassouf

Sulaiman al‑Issa,the poet who Fought the French Mandate

 Sulaiman al‑Issa was born 1921 in the village of Noayriyeh ‑ Oronte orchards, situated 20 Km to the west of the historical Syrian  city of Antakya .

- He received his first education under the mulberry tree shadowing the house yard . He learned the Holy Qoran, the famous preislamic poems ( Mu’allaqat ) which were hung in the Holy Ka'ba , the famous Mutanabbi collection of poetry, and a great many other Arabic poems. The village had no other school but the traditional Kuttab , which was also the poet’s home . His father lived and taught there.

- He started writing poetry at the age of ten and his first collection described the misery and weariness of the peasants .

-  His primary education took place in Antakya. When he started school he was so advanced that he was placed immediately into the fourth class . By that time the district of Al ‑Liwa , which included Antakya, was in a stage of revolution due to the Arab inhabitants discovering the plan of the French (who had a mandate in Syria at this time) to separate the area from Syria and offer it to Turkey .

- During his fifth and sixth grades in Primary school his poetry contributed to the demonstrations  and national fight of his fellow ‑ citizens of Liwa Iskenderun.

- After the Turkish aggression on  his native district he emigrated  to other parts of Syria to continue with his friends, the fight against the French Mandate . He continued his education in secondary schools  at Hama ; Lattakia and Damascus . In that period of his life he experienced the bitterness of homelessness and began to realize the importance for him of fighting for Arab unity, independence and freedom .

- He shared in the foundation of the Ba'th party While  still at secondary school in Damascus

- After graduation he returned to Syria to take up a post as teacher of Arabic language and literature in a secondary school in Aleppo .

- He lived in Aleppo from 1947 to 1967 teaching, Writing and sharing in the national struggle

- In 1950 he married and had two sons and a daughter.

- In addition to Arabic and some Turkish ; he also speaks French and English .

- He has travelled extensively in the Arab world and has also visited many other countries .


In 1967 ,he started writing for children and made it his primary concern .

- His biography for children written in poetry and then in prose , was entitled ‘I am telling you my childhood , O small ones’ His second autobiography was ‘The child Waïl in his search for his homeland’.

- In October 1982 he received the Afro – Asian Writers’ Union Lotus Prize for poetry .

- In 1984, his poetical works for children received the price of the Arab League, Educatinal, cultural, and Scientific Organization.

- In 1990, he was elected as a member of the Arab Language Academy (Damascus).

- In 2000, he received The Babatin Prize for poetical creativity.


Books by the poet

-     The Poetical works (4 volumes), Beirut, al-Mu’assassa al ‘Arabiyya,   1995.

-      The path of a life time (Autobiographical Highlights, Beirut, al-Mu’assassa   al-Arabiyya, 1996.

-      Al-Thumâlât (5 volumes), General Institution for the Book, Sanaa, 1999,   2004, 2005.

      The Divan for children, Dar al-Fikr, Damascus, 1999.

-      The Divan of Yemen, General Institution for the Book, 1999.

-      The Divan of Palestine, Palestine’s House, Damascus, 1999.

-      The Divan of Algeria, Algiers, 1995.

-      The Divan of Lebanon, Ministry of culture, Damascus, 2006.

-      The Woman in my poetry, Abu Dhabbi, 1998.

-      Collections of Stories and tales for children, with his wife Malaka Abiad