Michele Pero Michele Pero

“Why do I take photographs? In the past I have tried many times to give a high-flying answer to that question. But I have never found one. The only thing I can say is that I take photographs because it gives me such great pleasure …. and I travel because I am curious.” He was born in Sansepolcro in 1970. At the age of fifteen he was introduced to the dark room and to the mystery of black and white which to this day still fascinates him, like some kind of magic that grips the soul. In 1989 he moved to Florence where he decided that he would make photography his life. He gave up his studies in biology so that he could dedicate himself full time to his career as a photographer. In 1996 he went to Milan to work in advertising photography. It was there that his portfolio of life histories was held in high regard and his photographs began to appear on the printed page. He decided to leave the photographic studio and the large view cameras in order to travel and tell stories with the Nikon.
His photos appeared in all the most important Italian magazines and national and international daily newspapers. In 1997 he gave his first personal exhibition at Sansepolcro, entitled “Albanians of Albania”. Then, his photos of the war in Kosovo became a touring exhibition from 1998 to 1999 which reached all the most important Italian towns. His photo reportage was chosen for a permanent exhibition at the Friedensmuseum in Nuernberg.
In 2003 he founded his own school of photography called The Darkroom which today prepares professional photographers every year. He has once again taken up and is expanding his projects in photo journalism, especially in the Balkans and in the science field, faces new experiences with multi medial video productions and keeps working with advertising photography.

Collections created

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Prizren's Dervish Fakirs: The Newroz ...
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
08 Jul 2015

Ancient Shiite rituals were brought into the Balkans in the 15th century during the Ottoman invasion and dominion and have been kept intact up till our day, representing a parallel and very deep-rooted Islam amongst the people. In the town of Prizren in Kosovo there is the tariqa Rufai. To celebrate the Newroz, or Nevruz, the beginning of the new year which coincides with the arrival of spring, all the dervishes in the area meet up here to celebrate a propitiatory ritual. The ritual lasts five hours and is extremely exacting. The followers must go through a great test of physical and mental exertion. The dervishes pray, dance and sing and try to attain a state of trance. At the culmination of the ritual the feats of Fakirism take place. Whilst some of the dervishes play and sing, the shaikh takes long skewers and begins to pierce the mouths of the dervishes who willingly undergo this test, beginning with the children. The older dervishes, the braver and more expert, are pierced with a real sword. A blade is placed on their throat and the shaikh climbs on top of it. The ritual ends when the dervishes remove the skewers. Just a few drops of blood appear on their cheeks.

FULL ARTICLE AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST

Media created

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Dervishes of Prizren 12
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
18 Apr 2009

Prizren, Kosovo. Rufaì sekt. Fakir dervishes celebrating the Newroz (Nevruz), the beginning of the new year with fakirism rituals.

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Dervishes of Prizren 13
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
18 Apr 2009

Prizren, Kosovo. Rufaì sekt. Fakir dervishes celebrating the Newroz (Nevruz), the beginning of the new year with fakirism rituals. Sheikh Xhemali Shehu's nephew.

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Dervishes of Prizren 14
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
18 Apr 2009

Prizren, Kosovo. Rufaì sekt. Fakir dervishes celebrating the Newroz (Nevruz), the beginning of the new year with fakirism rituals. The teqe, dervishes are sitting and listening to the schaik praying, women are watching from the gallery.

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Dervishes of Prizren 10
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
18 Apr 2009

Prizren, Kosovo. Rufaì sekt. Fakir dervishes celebrating the Newroz (Nevruz), the beginning of the new year with fakirism rituals. A dervish taking candies as a sign of hospitality but also as a energy source for the effort of the long ceremony.

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Dervishes of Prizren 11
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
18 Apr 2009

Prizren, Kosovo. Rufaì sekt. Fakir dervishes celebrating the Newroz (Nevruz), the beginning of the new year with fakirism rituals. The leader schaik of the Rufaì sekt in Prizren, Sheikh Xhemali Shehu.

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Dervishes of Prizren 09
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
18 Apr 2009

Prizren, Kosovo. Rufaì sekt. Fakir dervishes celebrating the Newroz (Nevruz), the beginning of the new year with fakirism rituals. A young dervish taking candies as a sign of hospitality but also as a energy source for the effort of the long ceremony.

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Dervishes of Prizren 07
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
18 Apr 2009

Prizren, Kosovo. Rufaì sekt. Fakir dervishes celebrating the Newroz (Nevruz), the beginning of the new year with fakirism rituals. Dervishes praying

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Dervishes of Prizren 08
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
18 Apr 2009

Prizren, Kosovo. Rufaì sekt. Fakir dervishes celebrating the Newroz (Nevruz), the beginning of the new year with fakirism rituals. A dervish giving candies as a sign of hospitality but also as a energy source for the effort of the long ceremony.

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Dervishes of Prizren 04
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
18 Apr 2009

Prizren, Kosovo. Rufaì sekt. Fakir dervishes celebrating the Newroz (Nevruz), the beginning of the new year with fakirism rituals. The teqe, dervishes listening to the schaik and his family praying and leading the ceremony, women are watching from the gallery.

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Dervishes of Prizren 05
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
18 Apr 2009

Prizren, Kosovo. Rufaì sekt. Fakir dervishes celebrating the Newroz (Nevruz), the beginning of the new year with fakirism rituals. The teqe, dervishes are praying and listening to the schaik.

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Dervishes of Prizren 06
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
18 Apr 2009

Prizren, Kosovo. Rufaì sekt. Fakir dervishes celebrating the Newroz (Nevruz), the beginning of the new year with fakirism rituals. The schaik and his family praying and leading the ceremony.

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Dervishes of Prizren 03
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
18 Apr 2009

Prizren, Kosovo. Rufaì sekt. Fakir dervishes celebrating the Newroz (Nevruz) beginning of the new year with fakirism rituals. The inside of the teqe. Dervishes are sitting and listening to the schaik praying, women are watching from the gallery.

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Dervishes of Prizren 02
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
19 Apr 2009

Prizren, Kosovo. Rufaì sekt. Fakir dervishes celebrating the Newroz (Nevruz), the beginning of the new year with fakirism rituals. A young dervish with his piercing, proudly shown. The pin is a symbol of courage and the piercing demonstrated that the dervishes are brave.

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Prizren's Fakiri Dervishes:Newroz in ...
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
21 Mar 1998

Ancient Shiite rituals were brought into the Balkans in the 15th century during the Ottoman invasion and dominion and have been kept intact up till our day, representing a parallel and very deep-rooted Islam amongst the people. In the town of Prizren in Kosovo there is the tariqa Rufai. To celebrate the Newroz, or Nevruz, the beginning of the new year which coincides with the arrival of spring, all the dervishes in the area meet up here to celebrate a propitiatory ritual. The ritual lasts five hours and is extremely exacting. The followers must go through a great test of physical and mental exertion. The dervishes pray, dance and sing and try to attain a state of trance. At the culmination of the ritual the feats of Fakirism take place. Whilst some of the dervishes play and sing, the shaikh takes long skewers and begins to pierce the mouths of the dervishes who willingly undergo this test, beginning with the children. The older dervishes, the braver and more expert, are pierced with a real sword. A blade is placed on their throat and the shaikh climbs on top of it. The ritual ends when the dervishes remove the skewers. Just a few drops of blood appear on their cheeks.

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Syria - A Step Away From Heaven (2 of...
Kilis, Turkey
By Michele Pero
06 Dec 2012

A private building has been set up for to keep convalescent wounded civilians and rebels of the Free Syria Army, in Kilis.

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Syria - A Step Away From Heaven (3 of...
Kilis, Turkey
By Michele Pero
06 Dec 2012

Wounded Syrian fighters of the Free Syria Army in the Kilis hospital for Syrian people. In this on purpose set up structure, refugees and wounded rebels can have cure for their needs.

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Syria - A Step Away From Heaven (4 of...
Kilis, Turkey
By Michele Pero
06 Dec 2012

Wounded Syrian fighters of the Free Syria Army in the Kilis hospital for Syrian people. In this on purpose set up structure, refugees and wounded rebels can have cure for their needs.

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Syria - A Step Away From Heaven (5 of...
Kilis, Turkey
By Michele Pero
06 Dec 2012

Mohammad Omar, hit on his head by a shell in Halep. Now he is semi paralyzed with his body.

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Syria - A Step Away From Heaven (6 of...
Kilis, Turkey
By Michele Pero
06 Dec 2012

Mohannad, the kid in the corner, and Mahros Ashoy, on the bed, have reported injuries to their legs during a bombing in Halep.

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Syria - A Step Away From Heaven (7 of...
Kilis, Turkey
By Michele Pero
06 Dec 2012

Yousef Abbas, head of Free Syria Army of the brigade Liwa Al Tawhid, fighting in the north of the country. Wounded in more parts of his body, he's recovering for to go back to fight for free Syria.

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Syria - A Step Away From Heaven (9 of...
Kilis, Turkey
By Michele Pero
06 Dec 2012

Wounded Syrian fighters of the Free Syria Army in the Kilis hospital for Syrian people. In this on purpose set up structure, refugees and wounded rebels can have cure for their needs.

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Syria - A Step Away From Heaven (10 o...
Kilis, Turkey
By Michele Pero
06 Dec 2012

Nagib Urabi, from Halep. He arrived here on Monday December 3rd. Under a bombing he took a shell on his leg. He ha s lost the use of the right foot. He cannot be back to walking anymore. He's 43, civilian, and works in a financial company in Halep.

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Syria - A Step Away From Heaven (11 o...
Kilis, Turkey
By Michele Pero
06 Dec 2012

Eyub Taha, 24, civilian, vegetable seller. He was having a hair cut when a bombing occurred. He does not remeber anything of that moment, till he waked up in the hospital of Kilis. He has reported a leg fracture.

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Syria - A Step Away From Heaven (12 o...
Kilis, Turkey
By Michele Pero
06 Dec 2012

Hedi Lolak is a 23 years old shoemaker in Rae'e, a village near Halep. Hedi fights with the brigade Hulafel Al Rashidin. On November 30th he was walking with three friends in Ayn Altel, Halep, when a bomb killed his three firends and injured him.

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Syria - A Step Away From Heaven (13 o...
Kilis, Turkey
By Michele Pero
06 Dec 2012

Abdullah Rustom, from Haien, a nearby Halep village. Abdullah is fruit seller and he's 40. He was shot by a sniper to his right leg while was back from work, nearby Tarrefat.

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Syria - A Step Away From Heaven (14 o...
Kilis, Turkey
By Michele Pero
06 Dec 2012

Abdullah Rustom, from Haien, a nearby Halep village. Abdullah is fruit seller and he's 40. He was shot by a sniper to his right leg while was back from work, nearby Tarrefat.

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Syria - A Step Away From Heaven (15 o...
Kilis, Turkey
By Michele Pero
06 Dec 2012

Ibrahim Asì, from Halep, 20 years old, fighter of the Free Syrian Army in the center of Halep. December 7th, a MIG has released a bomb right over the brigade. An electric wire hit him to his right arm and he got burst.

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Syria - A Step Away From Heaven (16 o...
Kilis, Turkey
By Michele Pero
06 Dec 2012

Ibrahim Asì, from Halep, 20 years old, fighter of the Free Syrian Army in the center of Halep. December 7th, a MIG has released a bomb right over the brigade. An electric wire hit him to his right arm and he got burst.

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Syria - A Step Away From Heaven (17 o...
Kilis, Turkey
By Michele Pero
06 Dec 2012

Wounded and injured people arrive every day from the Syrian border to Kilis. They can have a first rescue at the Sağlık Bakanlığı Kilis Hospital in Turkey, right after the border. Some of them are rebels and fighters with the Free Syria Army. Some others are just civilians which were in the wrong place at the wrong moment. Their stories are weird. Who was sitting at the barber shop when the bomb blasted, who was buying fruit a the local bazar in Halep, who was just walking on the street with friends now dead, who was driving his car when the MIG arrived to bomb the street.
Others, the fighters of the FSA, were wounded during battles, such as the boy just arrived with an injure to his right arm. He was fighting in downtown Halep right on December 7th when a bomb hit very close his area. An electric pole felt down, hitting some of them. The electric wire burned his arm. He’s going to be taken to a more specialize hospital for injuries due to bursts.
In a building very close to the Kilis Hospital there is a Syrian hospital for the convalescence of other wounded civilians and rebels. They have found a place here for to stay until they will be able to walk on their own legs again. Others are waiting for their new artificial legs. They will need to learn how to walk with them before to leave the hospital.
A step away from Heaven. Some of them don’t know if they will survive the difficult surgery operations they have to undergo. Some others will go fighting again, as soon as their conditions will allow them to do so. Some of them will probably soon go to join the other stars on the sky of martyrdom for the freedom of Syria.

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Surviving In A Ghost Town, Halep, Syr...
Aleppo, Syria
By Michele Pero
02 Dec 2012

Downtown Halep, quarters of Bustan al-Pasha and Sakhour, December 2012.
The town is partially controlled by the brigades of the Free Syria Army. Snipers, hidden in isolated buildings, necessitate a fast crossing through the large and open avenues. Some people try to continue their normal life downtown, still living in their houses, even if the majority have left for the refugee camps at the borders of the country.

MIGs and helicopters of the Bashar Al Assad regime are continuously releasing rockets and barrel-bombs over the buildings. A quick look at the sky, some strikes, the blast and gray smoke lifts not too far from where we are. Another building hit, some people wounded and injured will be soon added to the list.

Daily life in Halep is pretty scary. The regime is now releasing big barrels filled with explosives. They release these bombs over the town, anywhere they like. No targets are aimed. They throw them here and there. No one is safe in any shelter. Shelters actually don’t work. Halep is a very ancient town and buildings are very weak. In spite of that, some citizens are still keeping their homes there, still trying to lead a normal life, together with the rebels of the Free Syria Army which fight on two front lines: one against the regular forces of the regime, one other against the Kurdish minority which supports the regime. In the middle, the citizens of Halep, try to survive in a ghost town, partially destroyed, under the daily bombings of such madness.

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Surviving In A Ghost Town, Halep, Syr...
Aleppo, Syria
By Michele Pero
02 Dec 2012

Downtown Halep, quarters of Bustan al-Pasha and Sakhour, December 2012.
The town is partially controlled by the brigades of the Free Syria Army. Snipers, hidden in isolated buildings, necessitate a fast crossing through the large and open avenues. Some people try to continue their normal life downtown, still living in their houses, even if the majority have left for the refugee camps at the borders of the country.

MIGs and helicopters of the Bashar Al Assad regime are continuously releasing rockets and barrel-bombs over the buildings. A quick look at the sky, some strikes, the blast and gray smoke lifts not too far from where we are. Another building hit, some people wounded and injured will be soon added to the list.

Daily life in Halep is pretty scary. The regime is now releasing big barrels filled with explosives. They release these bombs over the town, anywhere they like. No targets are aimed. They throw them here and there. No one is safe in any shelter. Shelters actually don’t work. Halep is a very ancient town and buildings are very weak. In spite of that, some citizens are still keeping their homes there, still trying to lead a normal life, together with the rebels of the Free Syria Army which fight on two front lines: one against the regular forces of the regime, one other against the Kurdish minority which supports the regime. In the middle, the citizens of Halep, try to survive in a ghost town, partially destroyed, under the daily bombings of such madness.

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Surviving In A Ghost Town, Halep, Syr...
Aleppo, Syria
By Michele Pero
02 Dec 2012

Downtown Halep, quarters of Bustan al-Pasha and Sakhour, December 2012.
The town is partially controlled by the brigades of the Free Syria Army. Snipers, hidden in isolated buildings, necessitate a fast crossing through the large and open avenues. Some people try to continue their normal life downtown, still living in their houses, even if the majority have left for the refugee camps at the borders of the country.

MIGs and helicopters of the Bashar Al Assad regime are continuously releasing rockets and barrel-bombs over the buildings. A quick look at the sky, some strikes, the blast and gray smoke lifts not too far from where we are. Another building hit, some people wounded and injured will be soon added to the list.

Daily life in Halep is pretty scary. The regime is now releasing big barrels filled with explosives. They release these bombs over the town, anywhere they like. No targets are aimed. They throw them here and there. No one is safe in any shelter. Shelters actually don’t work. Halep is a very ancient town and buildings are very weak. In spite of that, some citizens are still keeping their homes there, still trying to lead a normal life, together with the rebels of the Free Syria Army which fight on two front lines: one against the regular forces of the regime, one other against the Kurdish minority which supports the regime. In the middle, the citizens of Halep, try to survive in a ghost town, partially destroyed, under the daily bombings of such madness.

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Surviving In A Ghost Town, Halep, Syr...
Aleppo, Syria
By Michele Pero
02 Dec 2012

Downtown Halep, quarters of Bustan al-Pasha and Sakhour, December 2012.
The town is partially controlled by the brigades of the Free Syria Army. Snipers, hidden in isolated buildings, necessitate a fast crossing through the large and open avenues. Some people try to continue their normal life downtown, still living in their houses, even if the majority have left for the refugee camps at the borders of the country.

MIGs and helicopters of the Bashar Al Assad regime are continuously releasing rockets and barrel-bombs over the buildings. A quick look at the sky, some strikes, the blast and gray smoke lifts not too far from where we are. Another building hit, some people wounded and injured will be soon added to the list.

Daily life in Halep is pretty scary. The regime is now releasing big barrels filled with explosives. They release these bombs over the town, anywhere they like. No targets are aimed. They throw them here and there. No one is safe in any shelter. Shelters actually don’t work. Halep is a very ancient town and buildings are very weak. In spite of that, some citizens are still keeping their homes there, still trying to lead a normal life, together with the rebels of the Free Syria Army which fight on two front lines: one against the regular forces of the regime, one other against the Kurdish minority which supports the regime. In the middle, the citizens of Halep, try to survive in a ghost town, partially destroyed, under the daily bombings of such madness.

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Surviving In A Ghost Town, Halep, Syr...
Aleppo, Syria
By Michele Pero
02 Dec 2012

Downtown Halep, quarters of Bustan al-Pasha and Sakhour, December 2012.
The town is partially controlled by the brigades of the Free Syria Army. Snipers, hidden in isolated buildings, necessitate a fast crossing through the large and open avenues. Some people try to continue their normal life downtown, still living in their houses, even if the majority have left for the refugee camps at the borders of the country.

MIGs and helicopters of the Bashar Al Assad regime are continuously releasing rockets and barrel-bombs over the buildings. A quick look at the sky, some strikes, the blast and gray smoke lifts not too far from where we are. Another building hit, some people wounded and injured will be soon added to the list.

Daily life in Halep is pretty scary. The regime is now releasing big barrels filled with explosives. They release these bombs over the town, anywhere they like. No targets are aimed. They throw them here and there. No one is safe in any shelter. Shelters actually don’t work. Halep is a very ancient town and buildings are very weak. In spite of that, some citizens are still keeping their homes there, still trying to lead a normal life, together with the rebels of the Free Syria Army which fight on two front lines: one against the regular forces of the regime, one other against the Kurdish minority which supports the regime. In the middle, the citizens of Halep, try to survive in a ghost town, partially destroyed, under the daily bombings of such madness.

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Surviving In A Ghost Town, Halep, Syr...
Aleppo, Syria
By Michele Pero
02 Dec 2012

Downtown Halep, quarters of Bustan al-Pasha and Sakhour, December 2012.
The town is partially controlled by the brigades of the Free Syria Army. Snipers, hidden in isolated buildings, necessitate a fast crossing through the large and open avenues. Some people try to continue their normal life downtown, still living in their houses, even if the majority have left for the refugee camps at the borders of the country.

MIGs and helicopters of the Bashar Al Assad regime are continuously releasing rockets and barrel-bombs over the buildings. A quick look at the sky, some strikes, the blast and gray smoke lifts not too far from where we are. Another building hit, some people wounded and injured will be soon added to the list.

Daily life in Halep is pretty scary. The regime is now releasing big barrels filled with explosives. They release these bombs over the town, anywhere they like. No targets are aimed. They throw them here and there. No one is safe in any shelter. Shelters actually don’t work. Halep is a very ancient town and buildings are very weak. In spite of that, some citizens are still keeping their homes there, still trying to lead a normal life, together with the rebels of the Free Syria Army which fight on two front lines: one against the regular forces of the regime, one other against the Kurdish minority which supports the regime. In the middle, the citizens of Halep, try to survive in a ghost town, partially destroyed, under the daily bombings of such madness.

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Surviving In A Ghost Town, Halep, Syr...
Aleppo, Syria
By Michele Pero
02 Dec 2012

Downtown Halep, quarters of Bustan al-Pasha and Sakhour, December 2012.
The town is partially controlled by the brigades of the Free Syria Army. Snipers, hidden in isolated buildings, necessitate a fast crossing through the large and open avenues. Some people try to continue their normal life downtown, still living in their houses, even if the majority have left for the refugee camps at the borders of the country.

MIGs and helicopters of the Bashar Al Assad regime are continuously releasing rockets and barrel-bombs over the buildings. A quick look at the sky, some strikes, the blast and gray smoke lifts not too far from where we are. Another building hit, some people wounded and injured will be soon added to the list.

Daily life in Halep is pretty scary. The regime is now releasing big barrels filled with explosives. They release these bombs over the town, anywhere they like. No targets are aimed. They throw them here and there. No one is safe in any shelter. Shelters actually don’t work. Halep is a very ancient town and buildings are very weak. In spite of that, some citizens are still keeping their homes there, still trying to lead a normal life, together with the rebels of the Free Syria Army which fight on two front lines: one against the regular forces of the regime, one other against the Kurdish minority which supports the regime. In the middle, the citizens of Halep, try to survive in a ghost town, partially destroyed, under the daily bombings of such madness.

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Surviving In A Ghost Town, Halep, Syr...
Aleppo, Syria
By Michele Pero
02 Dec 2012

Downtown Halep, quarters of Bustan al-Pasha and Sakhour, December 2012.
The town is partially controlled by the brigades of the Free Syria Army. Snipers, hidden in isolated buildings, necessitate a fast crossing through the large and open avenues. Some people try to continue their normal life downtown, still living in their houses, even if the majority have left for the refugee camps at the borders of the country.

MIGs and helicopters of the Bashar Al Assad regime are continuously releasing rockets and barrel-bombs over the buildings. A quick look at the sky, some strikes, the blast and gray smoke lifts not too far from where we are. Another building hit, some people wounded and injured will be soon added to the list.

Daily life in Halep is pretty scary. The regime is now releasing big barrels filled with explosives. They release these bombs over the town, anywhere they like. No targets are aimed. They throw them here and there. No one is safe in any shelter. Shelters actually don’t work. Halep is a very ancient town and buildings are very weak. In spite of that, some citizens are still keeping their homes there, still trying to lead a normal life, together with the rebels of the Free Syria Army which fight on two front lines: one against the regular forces of the regime, one other against the Kurdish minority which supports the regime. In the middle, the citizens of Halep, try to survive in a ghost town, partially destroyed, under the daily bombings of such madness.

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Surviving In A Ghost Town, Halep, Syr...
Aleppo, Syria
By Michele Pero
02 Dec 2012

Downtown Halep, quarters of Bustan al-Pasha and Sakhour, December 2012.
The town is partially controlled by the brigades of the Free Syria Army. Snipers, hidden in isolated buildings, necessitate a fast crossing through the large and open avenues. Some people try to continue their normal life downtown, still living in their houses, even if the majority have left for the refugee camps at the borders of the country.

MIGs and helicopters of the Bashar Al Assad regime are continuously releasing rockets and barrel-bombs over the buildings. A quick look at the sky, some strikes, the blast and gray smoke lifts not too far from where we are. Another building hit, some people wounded and injured will be soon added to the list.

Daily life in Halep is pretty scary. The regime is now releasing big barrels filled with explosives. They release these bombs over the town, anywhere they like. No targets are aimed. They throw them here and there. No one is safe in any shelter. Shelters actually don’t work. Halep is a very ancient town and buildings are very weak. In spite of that, some citizens are still keeping their homes there, still trying to lead a normal life, together with the rebels of the Free Syria Army which fight on two front lines: one against the regular forces of the regime, one other against the Kurdish minority which supports the regime. In the middle, the citizens of Halep, try to survive in a ghost town, partially destroyed, under the daily bombings of such madness.