Walid Abu Rashed walks past bombed-out buildings in war-torn northwest Syria, carrying a large wooden board and a plastic bag filled with puppets while dozens of children trail behind him.
The 26 year-old's mobile puppet theater has become a small respite from war for the children of Saraqib, a town in the extremist-run province of Idlib.
After school, they gather amidst the rubble, clapping their hands, as the theater actor puts on a show from behind his makeshift puppet stand, a flashy yellow wig covering his black hair, said AFP.
The war-weary children sing along to a tune blasting from a speaker as hand puppets of a lion and a mouse pop up from a square hole carved at the center of the wooden board.
"How sweet it is to live well and in peace," they chant in unison.
Packing up his kit after the show, Abu Rashed says theater is a form of resistance.
"Theater is an integral part of the culture and civilization of Idlib," he told AFP, as the children around him clamored for pictures.
"I will fight tyrants through art."
Nearby, 10-year-old Mina Malak said the show had offered her much-needed relief.
"His shows make us laugh," she said. "It helps us forget the bombardment."
Source: Middle East Eye + Asharq Al-Awsat.