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023 Syrian Odyssey
Istanbul, Istanbul
By Mauro Prandelli
04 Apr 2014

35 year old Mahmoud (not his real name) escaped from Aleppo after being wounded and having surgery on his stomach. He came to live in a room with his family in Istanbul. He canno€™t work or walk very well.

"We were escaping from Aleppo and a rocket fell close to the car. Splinters exploded and struck me in my stomach and the leg. When I arrived to Turkey, in the center, they fixed my wounds. Thank God I survived, but now the situation is very bad, we are left to ourselves and we don't know what the future holds. I think I want to go back to my country when the war ends, I have my land in Syria. Inshallah€."

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025 Syrian Odyssey
Istanbul, Istanbul
By Mauro Prandelli
04 Apr 2014

Children who canno€™t afford to go to school wander Istanbul's city center seeking handouts or finding illegal jobs where they are exploited. Many children work up to 14 hours per day for little pay.

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026 Syrian Odyssey
Istanbul, Istanbul
By Mauro Prandelli
04 Apr 2014

The situation for Syrians in Turkey is still precarious. Since 2014, several demonstrations against Syrian refugees have taken place. At first welcomed by Erdogan, Syrians were left to their own devises. Those who can, try to immigrate and seek asylum in Europe. However, an increasing number of Syrian refugees are forced to live in limbo while they wait for the war to end and return to their country.

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005 Syrian Odyssey
Istanbul, Istanbul
By Mauro Prandelli
03 Apr 2014

Those who cannot spend too much for the rent share small basements or cellars. Many Syrian refugees canno€™t work in Turkey because they do no€™t have a residency permit.

Anas, 24 years old, escaped from Aleppo and works as a tailor in Istanbul without any job security. He left his family in Syria and is thinking of going back there to fight against the regime of Bashar al Assad.

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006 Syrian Odyssey
Istanbul, Istanbul
By Mauro Prandelli
03 Apr 2014

A Syrian refugee shows his ID card and describes his arrest and torture at the hands of the Syrian police. On the ID there is a number which indicates which district a person is from. Based on the district, police can often venture a good guess as to a person's religion.

The person in the photo was arrested while coming back from University. According to him, the Police stopped him, checked his ID, and arrested him because he is Sunni. While the uprising in Syria has involved people of all religions and ethnicities, it is largely comprised of Sunni Muslims, who are also Syria's majority population.

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015 Syrian Odyssey
Istanbul, Istanbul
By Mauro Prandelli
02 Apr 2014

Middle class Syrians are able rent a flat for 300/400Tl (125/165$) near the neighborhood affected by the Erdogan's restructuring plan. The plan was set up to re-build some areas of Istanbul. These houses will soon be destroyed to make way for more expensive, modern high rise buildings.

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016 Syrian Odyssey
Istanbul, Istanbul
By Mauro Prandelli
02 Apr 2014

Nahla and her family live in a small house with two bedrooms and a kitchen. There are ten people leaving there with seven children. All of the families fled Damascus. The men of the family work as carpenters or bricklayers to raise the money to pay the rent and food.

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017 Syrian Odyssey
Istanbul, Istanbul
By Mauro Prandelli
02 Apr 2014

Sivan, a 45 year old man from Qamisli, has been in Istanbul with his family for five months and he canno€™t find a job. He is Syrian-Kurdish and this makes it more difficult to find work in Istanbul. He says he came to Istanbul by bus. Due the fact that he cannot find a job, he is not able to pay his rent. His rent is three months overdue and the the owner of the flat in which he lives in wants to force him out. He does no€™t know where he and his family will do in future.

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018 Syrian Odyssey
Istanbul, Istanbul
By Mauro Prandelli
02 Apr 2014

16 year old Omar is from Hasakeh. He and his family came to Istanbul on foot, helped by a smuggler, after paying 200$ per person.

He does no€™t go to school and works 14 hours per day as a button sewer to raise 150 Tl (65$) per week to help pay the rent of his house.

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019 Syrian Odyssey
Istanbul, Istanbul
By Mauro Prandelli
02 Apr 2014

Farah comes from Damascus and has been in Istanbul for one year. When the war started in Syria she was pregnant. Her husband came to Istanbul and found a job and is able rent a house, which they share with another family. In this neighborhood, far from the touristic center of Istanbul, Turkish people are more polite and help Syrians by giving them food. The Mosque helps refugees by giving them bread and rice.

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011 Syrian Odyssey
Istanbul, Istanbul
By Mauro Prandelli
01 Apr 2014

According to the UNHCR, Syrian children (from 0 to 17 years old) account for about 55% of Syrian refugees in Turkey. Many of them have lived through traumatic events and have witnessed war first hand. Some of them suffer from psychological disorders resulting from what they have witnessed in Syria. Several associations were founded by the Syrian community to try and help Syrian children cope with their trauma, but lack of access to proper care is still a major problem.

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012 Syrian Odyssey
Istanbul, Istanbul
By Mauro Prandelli
01 Apr 2014

One of the first things that the associations try to provide is education. Children in this school continue to study according to the Syrian curriculum. Some books are re-written and passages praising Bashar al Assad are deleted. In this school, Turkish and English are also taught.

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013 Syrian Odyssey
Istanbul, Istanbul
By Mauro Prandelli
01 Apr 2014

A little girl sings a song about war:

"€œWe came to your feast, Through your celebration we are asking you, why now do we not have any feast?
O€™ World, my land is burned, my free land is stolen. Our sky is dreaming, asking days, where is the beautiful shiny sun?
Where are the pigeons flocks?
My little land, little like me, return peace to it and give us back our childhood,
Give us our childhood,
Give us, give us Peace."€

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014 Syrian Odyssey
Istanbul, Istanbul
By Mauro Prandelli
01 Apr 2014

The flag used by the revolutionaries is still hung in all classrooms. Some schools publicly took a stand in support of the Syrian revolution, hanging the flag of the revolution on their walls.

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001 Syrian Odyssey
Istanbul, Istanbul
By Mauro Prandelli
31 Mar 2014

The wall near the Fatih Mosque bears a slogan reading:

"€œYesterday Bosnia, today Syria"€.

The Syrian community seeking shelter in Turkey numbers about 1.5 million people. Syrian refugees try to reestablish their lives in Istanbul, looking to the longterm.

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007 Syrian Odyssey
Istanbul, Istanbul
By Mauro Prandelli
31 Mar 2014

The Syrian community has founded many associations that help Syrian refugees in Istanbul. Near Aksaray, the Syrian Noor Association provides refugees with a doctor and a dentist. Some refugees suffer from post-traumatic Stress disorders, especially young people directly affected by the fighting. However, lack of access to psychological care is still a major problem.

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008 Syrian Odyssey
Istanbul, Istanbul
By Mauro Prandelli
31 Mar 2014

The €œSyrian Noor Association€ collects medicine in order to distribute them in the center or to send them every month to Syria. The Turkish Government allows them to do so, but does no€™t help in any way.

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009 Syrian Odyssey
Istanbul, Istanbul
By Mauro Prandelli
31 Mar 2014

Everyday, many refugees come to the center to pick up clothes that the Association and the Mosque have collected for them. Families who flee from Syria usually leave all of their belongings in their homes and arrive in Istanbul with almost nothing.

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002 Syrian Odyssey
Istanbul, Istanbul
By Mauro Prandelli
29 Mar 2014

Refugees come from different social classes. Those who can afford it rent an apartment in Aksaray for 1000Tl ($380) per month and share it with other people. Usually the richer refugees think about escaping to Europe by paying a smuggler, while others decide to stop in Istanbul and invest their money in commercial activities.

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003 Syrian Odyssey
Istanbul, Istanbul
By Mauro Prandelli
29 Mar 2014

After the trip to Istanbul, one of the main problems for Syrian refugees is the language. Some words from the Turkish and Arabic languages are similar, but, due to the nationalism, a dominant characteristic of many Turks, people who speak Arabic are often discriminated.

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004 Syrian Odyssey
Istanbul, Istanbul
By Mauro Prandelli
29 Mar 2014

12 year old Mohammad was found on the streets of Istanbul by the owner of a Syrian restaurant. He and his brother were welcomed by the man, a former computer engineer who escaped the war, and started working as dishwashers in his restaurant. The two boys work 14 hours per day and sleep in a room behind the refrigerator in the kitchen of the restaurant.

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010 Syrian Odyssey
Istanbul, Istanbul
By Mauro Prandelli
29 Mar 2014

Syrian refugees who escape to Istanbul are usually Sunni muslims. Turkey is a predominantly Sunni Muslim country. Politically, Turkey has been traditionally secular. However, the rise of Recip Teyyip Erdogan to power has changed this and Sunni Islam has begun taking a more central role in Turkish social life.

In the beginning, Erdogan helped Syrians in the name of religion and to help generate more votes amongst the Turkish electorate. However, some Syria refugees feel that, while Erdogan is a good muslim man, he does not actually do much to help them.

Frame 0004
Rumah Singgah: A Home for Jakarta's A...
Depok
By Elisabetta Zavoli
28 Feb 2014

Length: 7:01
English subtitles

"Rumah Singgah" literally means “shelter house." A project developed by Mami Yulie (Yulianus Rettoblaut), the leader of waria community (transgender M to F) in Indonesia, the shelter hosts elderly transgender with no means of living on their own for free. There, they create a sort of microcosm, a small community ruled by tight family-like bonds. Rumah Singgah is also Mami Yulie's home, where she lives with her own family: her foster children, her husband and sometimes her relatives. Almost all waria (transgender M to F) in Indonesia are chased away from their families of origin when relatives find out they are transgender people. When they are young they can survive thanks to prostitution, but when they become old and sick, many are left without others to help care for them. Rummah Singgah is a space where elderly waria care for each other and are looked after by Mami Yulie and the shelter's caretaker.

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Another Sky: An Uruguayan journey 26
Montevideo, Uruguay
By Francesco Pistilli
05 Feb 2014

Women escaping domestic violence, drug addiction and crime in a shelter and rehab center in Montevideo make dust rags. Domestic violence is widespread across Latin America including in this small, mostly rural country with an average of 68 reports of gender based violence made daily in Montevideo.

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Another Sky: An Uruguayan journey 27
Montevideo, Uruguay
By Francesco Pistilli
05 Feb 2014

Stella, 32, comes from the Uruguayan countryside (Tacuarembo area). She and her autistic son were beaten and abused by her husband for 4 years. Since her husband was jailed for attempting to kill her, Stella lives with her son in a shelter for women escaping violence and addiction.

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Mayotte, The Dark Side of The Lagoon ...
Mayotte Island
By Adrien MATTON
17 May 2013

Dzaoudzi airport, rocked at 8000 kilometers from mainland France, by the still waters of its lagoon, the Mayotte Island in the Indian Ocean is the smallest and most recent of French overseas territories.

Aéroport Dzaoudzi, bercée à 8000 kilomètres de la France métropolitaine par les eaux paisibles de son lagon, l'île de Mayotte dans l'Océan Indien, est le plus petit des départements français avec une surface de 375 kms carrés.

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Heroes For The Strays (20 of 30)
Alor Star, Malaysia
By syahrin
14 May 2013

Mak Intan is talking to the dog who save her life when she drowned at the nearby river

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Life In The Graves - La Vie Dans Les ...
Shanshrah, Idlib Province, Syria
By Marie
13 Apr 2013

Entry of a graveyard occupied by a refugee family on the Shansharah archeological site, Idlib region. It has been one year since hundreds of displaced people have taken shelter in the ruins of these famous « dead cities » in the North-West. Far away from the surrounding cities, they are less exposed to the Syrian army air strikes.

Entrée d'un tombeau occupé par une famille réfugiée sur le site archéologique de Shansharah dans la région d'Idleb. Depuis un an des centaines de déplacés trouvent refuge dans les ruines des célèbres « villes mortes » du nord-ouest du pays. Eloignées des villes alentours, elles sont moins ciblées par les attaques aériennes de l'armée syrienne. Ici vit une famille de six personnes. La chambre funéraire est devenue leur lieu de vie.

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Life In The Graves - La Vie Dans Les ...
Shanshrah, Idlib province, Syria
By Marie
13 Apr 2013

Entry of a graveyard occupied by a refugee family on the Shansharah archeological site, Idlib region. It has been one year since hundreds of displaced people have taken shelter in the ruins of these famous « dead cities » in the North-West. Far away from the surrounding cities, they are less exposed to the Syrian army air strikes. The young Ahmad is complaining about the very hard living conditions of his daily life. There is no running water and electricity. « When it is raining we have to go out of the graveyard because it is full of water ».

Entrée d'un tombeau occupé par une famille réfugiée sur le site archéologique de Shansharah dans la région d'Idleb. Depuis un an des centaines de déplacés trouvent refuge dans les ruines des célèbres « villes mortes » du nord-ouest du pays. Eloignées des villes alentours, elles sont moins ciblées par les attaques aériennes de l'armée syrienne. Le petit Ahmad se plaint des conditions de vie déplorables dans lesquelles ils vivent. Ils ne disposent ni d'eau courante, ni d’électricité.
« Quand il pleut trop, nous sommes obligés de sortir car le tombeau se remplit d'eau ».

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Life In The Graves
Shanshrah, Idlib province, Syria
By U.S. Editor
13 Apr 2013

In the Idlib region, North-Western Syria, hundreds of families take refuge in the "dead cities", which are Byzantine and Christian archeologic sites from the 3rd to the 6th Century.
In the Shansharah site, 80 km from Aleppo, Syrian displaced people have transformed graves into shelters: these dark and humid places are the only safe place they found to protect themselves from rockets, mortar and air attack.
Even if this part of the Idlib region has been liberated from the regime by rebels, bombings and air attacks from the Syrian army still are the daily fate of the inhabitants. Most of the Shansharah refugees are coming from Kafr Nabel and Kafr Rouma, two free cities regularly targetted by the Syrian army.
Living conditions are extremely hard in the Shansharah site : there is no electricity and running water. The closest water well is three kilometres far from the site. Displaced people go there everyday to get water. In the site there is only an ancient thermae with stagnate water that can be used to wash dishes and the clothes. Children often dive into this microbes nest. As a consequence, diseases are proliferating because of the lack of hygiene. The first disease is however coming from an insect: the leshmaniose, which gives big and red spots that erode the skin; it is spreading among Shansharah's displaced people, especially children. No organization is providing them any treatment.

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Heroes for the Strays (4 0f 30)
Alor Star, Malaysia
By syahrin
13 Apr 2013

-Villagers donate food to Pakmie. A close friend gives fish heads to feed the stray animals.

For the past 20 years Pak Mie and his wife have been tending to the needs of stray animals suffering from diseases such as mange or cataracts.

The couple established the Pak Mie shelter on a vacant area near a river in Tanjung Bendshara. Although Pak Mie and Mak Intan have put in a lot of their own money and time into caring for these stray animals they have drawn the attention of malicious gossip.

They have been accused as running the center as a cover to hold donation money and accused of mistreating the animals. Pak Mie and Mak Intan strongly deny all these allegations. The center was only recently running on public donations. Prior to this the family ran the center with their own money.

The married couple volunteers at the shelter and its supporters are not only giving aid to these animals but are attempting to overturn Malaysians perception that animals, such as dogs, should be disregarded. Much of this public view stems from some of the Muslim population of Malaysia being taught that touching or having a dog is forbidden.

Contrary to the couple's efforts,the shelter is currently under investigation from the local authorities and they may have to relocate under the pressure of landowners.

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Heroes for the Strays (9 0f 30)
Alor star, Malaysia
By syahrin
12 Apr 2013

-One of Pak Mie dogs in the shelter who previously suffered from mange.

For the past 20 years Pak Mie and his wife Mak Intan, have been tending to the needs of stray animals suffering from diseases such as mange or cataracts.

The couple established the Pak Mie shelter on a vacant area near a river in Tanjung Bendshara. Although Pak Mie and Mak Intan have put in a lot of their own money and time into caring for these stray animals they have drawn the attention of malicious gossip.

They have been accused as running the center as a cover to hold donation money and accused of mistreating the animals. Pak Mie and Mak Intan strongly deny all these allegations. The center was only recently running on public donations. Prior to this the family ran the center with their own money.

The married couple volunteers at the shelter and its supporters are not only giving aid to these animals but are attempting to overturn Malaysians perception that animals, such as dogs, should be disregarded. Much of this public view stems from some of the Muslim population of Malaysia being taught that touching or having a dog is forbidden.

Contrary to the couple's efforts,the shelter is currently under investigation from the local authorities and they may have to relocate under the pressure of landowners.

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Stuck Between A War & The Turkish Bor...
Azaz, Syria
By Ben Taub
03 Apr 2013

Transit Camp, A’zaz, SYRIA

“My wife will die if she doesn’t have heart surgery in three or four days,” Asad Hoammed lamented as he prepared tea in his UN refugee tent. But getting the operation first requires getting her out of war-torn Syria and into a Turkish hospital that would somehow be willing to treat her for free.

It’s been more than a month since Mr. Hoammed and his wife left their hometown of Tall Rifat seeking Turkish medical care, but having no money to begin a new life outside Syria has made the crossing impossible. Instead, they ended up in a refugee transit camp on the northern border with roughly 13,000 other Syrians waiting either to get into Turkey or for the war to end so they can go home and rebuild.

Most fled intense violence and shelling in and around Aleppo.

The tea was still too hot to drink, so Mr. Hoammed lit a cigarette. He took a slow drag as Syrian regime fighter jets bombed rebels laying siege to a military airport a few miles away. The distant thundering rattled none and inspired a few prayers for those likely killed, but the proximity posed no risk. Those few miles make a serious difference, as the transit camp is situated at the edge of the Turkish border. Any approaching jet would risk obliteration by Turkish air defenses.

Still, the transit camp isn’t a safe place to live. “One person is sick in every tent,” insisted the men gathered on Mr. Hoammed’s tarp floor. They blamed it on dirty drinking water.

Dr. Al-Nasr, who works for a group called “Medical Relief for Syria,” acknowledged the spread of disease is a dire situation but disputed that refugees’ drinking water is tainted in any way. “It’s a problem with sanitation, how to dispose of the bathing water and used toilet water,” he said. “There are lakes of waste in some areas.”

Most of the camp’s water and insect-linked health issues, such as diarrhea and scabies, are treatable. But when addressing complex civilian health emergencies, there’s simply no good option in northern Syria.

According to Dr. Al-Nasr, Turkish authorities will grant access and free hospital care if failure to perform a major operation would have urgent and imminent consequences. But how imminent is imminent? Mr. Hoammed thinks his wife has just a few days left to live, and that any action now may be too little, too late.

He paused for a moment, then reached for a plastic bag hanging from the tent wall from which he produced a coin-purse full of pills and a small Chinese charm sent by a business contact in Beijing two years ago. That was when his wife first fell ill. “This charm is to protect her health,” wrote the Chinese businessman.

At that time, Mr. Hoammed worked in a weapons manufacturing facility for the Syrian government. Soon after the war began, he defected and returned home to Tall Rifat. His two sons picked up arms a few months later, Abdel with the Free Syrian Army and Hamoud with Jabhat al-Nusra, the well-trained Islamist faction that also hopes to take down the Syrian regime.

Mr. Hoammed hasn’t seen his sons since he and his ill wife arrived at the transit camp in late February. Tonight he intends to plead his case and seek free crossing and heart surgery for the woman he has lived with and loved through war and peace.

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Stuck Between A War & The Turkish Bor...
Azaz, Syria
By Ben Taub
03 Apr 2013

Transit Camp, A’zaz, SYRIA

“My wife will die if she doesn’t have heart surgery in three or four days,” Asad Hoammed lamented as he prepared tea in his UN refugee tent. But getting the operation first requires getting her out of war-torn Syria and into a Turkish hospital that would somehow be willing to treat her for free.

It’s been more than a month since Mr. Hoammed and his wife left their hometown of Tall Rifat seeking Turkish medical care, but having no money to begin a new life outside Syria has made the crossing impossible. Instead, they ended up in a refugee transit camp on the northern border with roughly 13,000 other Syrians waiting either to get into Turkey or for the war to end so they can go home and rebuild.

Most fled intense violence and shelling in and around Aleppo.

The tea was still too hot to drink, so Mr. Hoammed lit a cigarette. He took a slow drag as Syrian regime fighter jets bombed rebels laying siege to a military airport a few miles away. The distant thundering rattled none and inspired a few prayers for those likely killed, but the proximity posed no risk. Those few miles make a serious difference, as the transit camp is situated at the edge of the Turkish border. Any approaching jet would risk obliteration by Turkish air defenses.

Still, the transit camp isn’t a safe place to live. “One person is sick in every tent,” insisted the men gathered on Mr. Hoammed’s tarp floor. They blamed it on dirty drinking water.

Dr. Al-Nasr, who works for a group called “Medical Relief for Syria,” acknowledged the spread of disease is a dire situation but disputed that refugees’ drinking water is tainted in any way. “It’s a problem with sanitation, how to dispose of the bathing water and used toilet water,” he said. “There are lakes of waste in some areas.”

Most of the camp’s water and insect-linked health issues, such as diarrhea and scabies, are treatable. But when addressing complex civilian health emergencies, there’s simply no good option in northern Syria.

According to Dr. Al-Nasr, Turkish authorities will grant access and free hospital care if failure to perform a major operation would have urgent and imminent consequences. But how imminent is imminent? Mr. Hoammed thinks his wife has just a few days left to live, and that any action now may be too little, too late.

He paused for a moment, then reached for a plastic bag hanging from the tent wall from which he produced a coin-purse full of pills and a small Chinese charm sent by a business contact in Beijing two years ago. That was when his wife first fell ill. “This charm is to protect her health,” wrote the Chinese businessman.

At that time, Mr. Hoammed worked in a weapons manufacturing facility for the Syrian government. Soon after the war began, he defected and returned home to Tall Rifat. His two sons picked up arms a few months later, Abdel with the Free Syrian Army and Hamoud with Jabhat al-Nusra, the well-trained Islamist faction that also hopes to take down the Syrian regime.

Mr. Hoammed hasn’t seen his sons since he and his ill wife arrived at the transit camp in late February. Tonight he intends to plead his case and seek free crossing and heart surgery for the woman he has lived with and loved through war and peace.

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Stuck Between A War & The Turkish Bor...
Azaz, Syria
By Ben Taub
03 Apr 2013

Transit Camp, A’zaz, SYRIA

“My wife will die if she doesn’t have heart surgery in three or four days,” Asad Hoammed lamented as he prepared tea in his UN refugee tent. But getting the operation first requires getting her out of war-torn Syria and into a Turkish hospital that would somehow be willing to treat her for free.

It’s been more than a month since Mr. Hoammed and his wife left their hometown of Tall Rifat seeking Turkish medical care, but having no money to begin a new life outside Syria has made the crossing impossible. Instead, they ended up in a refugee transit camp on the northern border with roughly 13,000 other Syrians waiting either to get into Turkey or for the war to end so they can go home and rebuild.

Most fled intense violence and shelling in and around Aleppo.

The tea was still too hot to drink, so Mr. Hoammed lit a cigarette. He took a slow drag as Syrian regime fighter jets bombed rebels laying siege to a military airport a few miles away. The distant thundering rattled none and inspired a few prayers for those likely killed, but the proximity posed no risk. Those few miles make a serious difference, as the transit camp is situated at the edge of the Turkish border. Any approaching jet would risk obliteration by Turkish air defenses.

Still, the transit camp isn’t a safe place to live. “One person is sick in every tent,” insisted the men gathered on Mr. Hoammed’s tarp floor. They blamed it on dirty drinking water.

Dr. Al-Nasr, who works for a group called “Medical Relief for Syria,” acknowledged the spread of disease is a dire situation but disputed that refugees’ drinking water is tainted in any way. “It’s a problem with sanitation, how to dispose of the bathing water and used toilet water,” he said. “There are lakes of waste in some areas.”

Most of the camp’s water and insect-linked health issues, such as diarrhea and scabies, are treatable. But when addressing complex civilian health emergencies, there’s simply no good option in northern Syria.

According to Dr. Al-Nasr, Turkish authorities will grant access and free hospital care if failure to perform a major operation would have urgent and imminent consequences. But how imminent is imminent? Mr. Hoammed thinks his wife has just a few days left to live, and that any action now may be too little, too late.

He paused for a moment, then reached for a plastic bag hanging from the tent wall from which he produced a coin-purse full of pills and a small Chinese charm sent by a business contact in Beijing two years ago. That was when his wife first fell ill. “This charm is to protect her health,” wrote the Chinese businessman.

At that time, Mr. Hoammed worked in a weapons manufacturing facility for the Syrian government. Soon after the war began, he defected and returned home to Tall Rifat. His two sons picked up arms a few months later, Abdel with the Free Syrian Army and Hamoud with Jabhat al-Nusra, the well-trained Islamist faction that also hopes to take down the Syrian regime.

Mr. Hoammed hasn’t seen his sons since he and his ill wife arrived at the transit camp in late February. Tonight he intends to plead his case and seek free crossing and heart surgery for the woman he has lived with and loved through war and peace.

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Stuck Between A War & The Turkish Bor...
Azaz, Syria
By Ben Taub
03 Apr 2013

Transit Camp, A’zaz, SYRIA

“My wife will die if she doesn’t have heart surgery in three or four days,” Asad Hoammed lamented as he prepared tea in his UN refugee tent. But getting the operation first requires getting her out of war-torn Syria and into a Turkish hospital that would somehow be willing to treat her for free.

It’s been more than a month since Mr. Hoammed and his wife left their hometown of Tall Rifat seeking Turkish medical care, but having no money to begin a new life outside Syria has made the crossing impossible. Instead, they ended up in a refugee transit camp on the northern border with roughly 13,000 other Syrians waiting either to get into Turkey or for the war to end so they can go home and rebuild.

Most fled intense violence and shelling in and around Aleppo.

The tea was still too hot to drink, so Mr. Hoammed lit a cigarette. He took a slow drag as Syrian regime fighter jets bombed rebels laying siege to a military airport a few miles away. The distant thundering rattled none and inspired a few prayers for those likely killed, but the proximity posed no risk. Those few miles make a serious difference, as the transit camp is situated at the edge of the Turkish border. Any approaching jet would risk obliteration by Turkish air defenses.

Still, the transit camp isn’t a safe place to live. “One person is sick in every tent,” insisted the men gathered on Mr. Hoammed’s tarp floor. They blamed it on dirty drinking water.

Dr. Al-Nasr, who works for a group called “Medical Relief for Syria,” acknowledged the spread of disease is a dire situation but disputed that refugees’ drinking water is tainted in any way. “It’s a problem with sanitation, how to dispose of the bathing water and used toilet water,” he said. “There are lakes of waste in some areas.”

Most of the camp’s water and insect-linked health issues, such as diarrhea and scabies, are treatable. But when addressing complex civilian health emergencies, there’s simply no good option in northern Syria.

According to Dr. Al-Nasr, Turkish authorities will grant access and free hospital care if failure to perform a major operation would have urgent and imminent consequences. But how imminent is imminent? Mr. Hoammed thinks his wife has just a few days left to live, and that any action now may be too little, too late.

He paused for a moment, then reached for a plastic bag hanging from the tent wall from which he produced a coin-purse full of pills and a small Chinese charm sent by a business contact in Beijing two years ago. That was when his wife first fell ill. “This charm is to protect her health,” wrote the Chinese businessman.

At that time, Mr. Hoammed worked in a weapons manufacturing facility for the Syrian government. Soon after the war began, he defected and returned home to Tall Rifat. His two sons picked up arms a few months later, Abdel with the Free Syrian Army and Hamoud with Jabhat al-Nusra, the well-trained Islamist faction that also hopes to take down the Syrian regime.

Mr. Hoammed hasn’t seen his sons since he and his ill wife arrived at the transit camp in late February. Tonight he intends to plead his case and seek free crossing and heart surgery for the woman he has lived with and loved through war and peace.

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Stuck Between A War & The Turkish Bor...
Azaz, Syria
By Ben Taub
03 Apr 2013

Transit Camp, A’zaz, SYRIA

“My wife will die if she doesn’t have heart surgery in three or four days,” Asad Hoammed lamented as he prepared tea in his UN refugee tent. But getting the operation first requires getting her out of war-torn Syria and into a Turkish hospital that would somehow be willing to treat her for free.

It’s been more than a month since Mr. Hoammed and his wife left their hometown of Tall Rifat seeking Turkish medical care, but having no money to begin a new life outside Syria has made the crossing impossible. Instead, they ended up in a refugee transit camp on the northern border with roughly 13,000 other Syrians waiting either to get into Turkey or for the war to end so they can go home and rebuild.

Most fled intense violence and shelling in and around Aleppo.

The tea was still too hot to drink, so Mr. Hoammed lit a cigarette. He took a slow drag as Syrian regime fighter jets bombed rebels laying siege to a military airport a few miles away. The distant thundering rattled none and inspired a few prayers for those likely killed, but the proximity posed no risk. Those few miles make a serious difference, as the transit camp is situated at the edge of the Turkish border. Any approaching jet would risk obliteration by Turkish air defenses.

Still, the transit camp isn’t a safe place to live. “One person is sick in every tent,” insisted the men gathered on Mr. Hoammed’s tarp floor. They blamed it on dirty drinking water.

Dr. Al-Nasr, who works for a group called “Medical Relief for Syria,” acknowledged the spread of disease is a dire situation but disputed that refugees’ drinking water is tainted in any way. “It’s a problem with sanitation, how to dispose of the bathing water and used toilet water,” he said. “There are lakes of waste in some areas.”

Most of the camp’s water and insect-linked health issues, such as diarrhea and scabies, are treatable. But when addressing complex civilian health emergencies, there’s simply no good option in northern Syria.

According to Dr. Al-Nasr, Turkish authorities will grant access and free hospital care if failure to perform a major operation would have urgent and imminent consequences. But how imminent is imminent? Mr. Hoammed thinks his wife has just a few days left to live, and that any action now may be too little, too late.

He paused for a moment, then reached for a plastic bag hanging from the tent wall from which he produced a coin-purse full of pills and a small Chinese charm sent by a business contact in Beijing two years ago. That was when his wife first fell ill. “This charm is to protect her health,” wrote the Chinese businessman.

At that time, Mr. Hoammed worked in a weapons manufacturing facility for the Syrian government. Soon after the war began, he defected and returned home to Tall Rifat. His two sons picked up arms a few months later, Abdel with the Free Syrian Army and Hamoud with Jabhat al-Nusra, the well-trained Islamist faction that also hopes to take down the Syrian regime.

Mr. Hoammed hasn’t seen his sons since he and his ill wife arrived at the transit camp in late February. Tonight he intends to plead his case and seek free crossing and heart surgery for the woman he has lived with and loved through war and peace.

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Dead Cities in Syria
Syria
By Maciej Moskwa
17 Mar 2013

Dead cities in Syria are the remains of the Roman and Byzantine settlements in the north-western of Syria. In 2012, during the civil war in Syria, more than one million people had to abandon their homes and sought safe shelter. They came to the places where the Ancients buried their dead. In places such as Shansharah, Robia, Serjilla the living found shelter within the dead in ruins and tombs, often underground. They are exposed to cold, and are often wet, hungry, and vulnerable to disease.
Many who fled from their homes, couldn't take much with them, the heaviest luggage they carry is their memories filled with the images, sounds and smells of an ongoing war. Although they hide, danger accompanies them each day with the constant risk of shelling coupled with gnawing hunger. The risk of contracting Tuberculosis or Leishmaniasis is an everyday reality.

Photographs by Maciej Moskwa/TESTIGO Documentary.