2017 Photo Contest, Spot News, Stories, 2nd prize

Rescued From the Rubble

Photographer

Ameer Alhabi

22 April, 2016

A man and boy evacuate an area in the rebel-held Hayy Aqyul neighborhood of Aleppo, following an airstrike.

Aleppo, once Syria’s largest city and the country’s financial and industrial center, was a key battleground in the war between forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad and rebels who wanted to overthrow him. For four years the city had been roughly divided in half, with the opposition controlling the east and the government the west. As fighting intensified in 2016, the rebels became increasingly besieged. Of the roughly 250,000 people who remained trapped in eastern Aleppo, around 100,000 were children. Besieged civilians faced severe food and fuel shortages, and basic infrastructure and healthcare facilities were obliterated.

Despite several international attempts at negotiating a ceasefire and allowing civilians passage out of eastern Aleppo, fighting escalated and people remained. Civil defense workers said civilians were mistrustful of government offers of safe passage; the government said rebels were preventing people from leaving. Some were simply reluctant to abandon their homes and property. On 15 December the warring sides reached a ceasefire deal, and on 22 December, following days of evacuations, the Syrian government announced that it had taken control of the city.

About

Ameer Alhabi

He started contributing pictures to AFP in February 2016. His photography career began in 2014 when he started working with local media centers, and then with the local sniper ph...

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