First Syrian parkour team uses war-ravaged towns as its playground

Tafani means dedication in Arabic. It’s also the name of the first parkour and free running team in Syria. The group has big dreams and hopes to compete in international competitions someday soon.

Parkour is a sport in which athletes run, jump and hurl themselves over obstacles to get from one point to another as quickly as possible. According to The Scotsman, the activity has seen an uptick in new participants during the pandemic. The individual sport is non-competitive and can transform any public space into a playground.

However, Tafani has been around since before COVID-19. The group formed in 2018 thanks to its founders Aamer Samsom and Obada Jbara, both from Idlib, Syria.

“This sport has a lot of energy and dynamic with very high physical fitness. After I trained myself through the internet, I decided to establish a team,” 24-year-old Samsom told the Associated Press.

Tafani practices in Sarmin and Qaminas, two towns destroyed by Russian and Syrian airstrikes. The group features some of its epic stunts on its Instagram, tafani97. Members flip, jump and leap from abandoned buildings in the clips and photos.

“The message that we want to send to the world is that we can practice this sport despite the difficulties and struggles that we face and despite the shelling that happened here,” 22-year-old Jbara told the Associated Press. 

According to the founders, the group hopes to participate in the Red Bull Art of Motion World Championship someday. It’s one of the largest parkour events in the world.

If you enjoyed this story, watch this parkour athlete pull of an “unbelievable” jump at the Hamburg canal.

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