ALI HAJ SULEIMAN, SYRIA

SYRIA: THE SHELLS OF WAR

Idlib, the last Syrian province not yet recaptured by President Bashar al-Assad’s forces. It is feared that it will be the stage for the bloody finale of a civil war that has now lasted a decade. Until then, refugees from other regions of the country are desperately seeking opportunities to earn money in Idlib. 

Among them are many children who collect scrap metal from the dumps of discarded and sometimes still live ammunition, e.g., mortar shells, projectiles, casings, rocket casings, the remains of cluster bombs. They were born into a war, they grew up in a war, thousands of girls and boys have died in this war. 

More than five million children have been displaced, within the country or beyond its borders. Syrian photographer Ali Haj Suleiman has documented the children’s toil on the massive weapon piles. 

Photographer: Ali Haj Suleiman, Syria (Middle East Images agency)

Portrait: Ali Haj Suleiman

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Ali Haj Suleiman, born in 1999, lived in Damascus as a boy and dreamed of becoming a doctor. He was 14 years old when his father was arrested. Together with his family, he moved back to his homeland in the Idlib province. 

In 2017, he began his work as a photographer to document, as he puts it, “the suffering of the Syrian people and the violence against civilians.” This includes destroyed schools, everyday life amidst total destruction and children as the victims of bombings.

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