9 May 2013

Images of the Syrian Conflict

The Seige of Aleppo - Photo by Javier Manzano

Two rebel soldiers in Syria guard their sniper's nest in the Karmel Jabl neighborhood of Aleppo as light streams through more than a dozen holes made by bullets and shrapnel in the tin wall behind them. The dust from more than one hundred days of shelling, bombing and firefights hung in the air. Karmel Jabl is strategically important because of its proximity to the main road that separates several of the main battlegrounds in the city. Both sides (the Free Syria Army and the regime) rely heavily on snipers in a cat and mouse game along Aleppo's frontlines. (Photo taken October 18, 2012)

The sound of artillery fire and attack aircraft fill the air as the sound of an Albatros Mig is heard circling above. Death on this day will come in the form of a free-falling bomb or worse, a missile strike like the one that ripped through the Dar Al-Shifa hospital on 11/21/2012. As the rebels go house-to-house in search of loyalist troops - each side monitoring the other through the sound of broken glass and debris cracking under their shoes - a rebel lieutenant moves up the stairs of an empty apartment block. The scent of decaying matter emanates from a pool of coagulated blood at the top of the staircase which judging by its size, the injury cost a man his life. The use of tanks force the rebel to take cover from shells that explode on the sides of the buildings around them. A mortar round erodes the cover provided to them by an apartment block on the verge of collapse. To neutralize the tank, a rocket propelled grenade needs to produce a direct hit onto the vulnerable sections of the armor - failure often means the dismemberment of the shooter. A rebel died and another was critically wounded while attempting to destroy a T-55 battle tank on Sept. 26. An Iraqi brother-in-arms summed up the day's efforts: "This is not the time to mourn the death of your comrade. Honor him by continuing the fight." There was no response. The smell of disinfectant, blood and burnt flesh engulfed the grain of every surface that was the Dar Al-Shifa hospital. Twelve people arrive at once as Dr. Osman approaches the twitching body of a boy with a fatal head wound. A man pumps oxygen into the lungs of a clinically dead 8-year-old girl injured by a mortar. At a different facility, smoke and vapor rises from the torso of a young man ripped apart by yet another mortar - this one landed next to a bread shop killing the two girls next to him - again the twitching bodies, again the pre-mortem spasms. The boy's father collapses after recognizing his son through an ID card - he had no head.

Words and pictures by Javier Manzano.  

Manzano is the first freelance photographer to win a Pulitzer in 17 years.

Read an article regarding Manzano's experience as a photojournalist in Syria here: Javier Manzano - First Freelance Photographer To Win Pulitzer In 17 Years

See more of Manzano's pictures from Syria here: Javier Manzano

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