Fernande van Tets / Fernande van Tets – Four Seasons in Damascus

Fernande van Tets – Four Seasons in Damascus

Fernande van Tets – Four Seasons in Damascus

About the book

In March of 2018, when the war in Syria enters its eighth year, Fernande van Tets moves to Damascus. As a communications officer for the United Nations, she lives in the opulence of the Four Seasons Hotel, with the secret service in the lobby, while outside the Syrian army forces the last rebel areas to surrender with starvation and bombings. During what is now called the ‘year of victory’, she sees what that victory has cost: a land in ruins and a people adrift.

She speaks with Syrians about how they see the future – from the fear of disappearing into a Syrian prison to finding a suitable partner now that so many people have died or fled. Syria is pressing for the return of refugees from abroad and, in the Netherlands too, people find it time that Syrians went home. But what is there for them to return to? Fernande van Tets sketches an impressive and terrifying picture of a country where life cannot be taken for granted.


‘I highly recommend this book. For those who want a realistic picture of what is really taking place in Bashar al-Assad’s Syria, this is a must. And for those who still think we can just send Syrian refugees back, this is required reading.’ – NEDERLANDSE BOEKENGIDS


‘When I accepted a job at the UN in Damascus, I had no idea how quickly you got used to the daily reality of a warzone. After a few days, I was no longer surprised by bombs. After a few months, I no longer became emotional when people told me about how they had survived on grass and water because their neighborhood had been under siege by President Bashar al-Assad’s men. It became normal that colleagues’ houses were levelled.’

Fernande van Tets (b. 1985) studied Arabic and political science and moved to Beirut in 2011. She worked as a freelance journalist for international news outlets such as Trouw, De Groene Amsterdammer, The Independent and television broadcaster France 24. From 2018 to 2019, she lived and worked in Damascus for a year as a communications officers for UNRWA, the UN’s aid organization for Palestinian refugees.

© Lin Woldendorp

Additional book information

  • Current Affairs
  • ISBN 9789400407107
  • Number of pages: 352
  • World rights: Thomas Rap
  • Price: €24,99