It is one thing to read about what is happening in Syria, even to watch a news piece on the conflict and its victims, but there is something about photography, a still image of a moment in time, that really bring home the brutal reality of the all-consuming civil war and the attempts by Syrians, both those who have fled and those who have stayed, to carry on living a normal life.  I haven’t included any blood and gore, those photos can be found elsewhere.

Posted on Twitter today, Deir Ezzor in eastern Syria taken by one of its young inhabitants.

Syrian refugees carry their children in the Al- Zaatri refugee camp, in the Jordanian city of Mafraq, near the border with Syria on February 12, 2013. (Muhammad Hamed/Reuters)

Women walk past graffiti that reads Freedom for Ever on the outskirts of Idlib, north Syria, Thursday (March 1 2012). (Rodrigo Abd/Associated Press)

A man carries an elderly woman to safety after an airstrike in Aleppo on August 6, 2012. © 2012 Nicole Tung/TIME

Damaged areas in Deir al-Zour, an eastern city, on Sunday Match 3, 2013. Khalil Ashawi/Reuters

Syrian students start the second term of the school-year despite of the ongoing conflict in the country. 28 January 2013 (AFP)

There is no doubt that many still support Assad and his regime, partly as a form sectarian allegiance (he is Alawite, as is 12% of Syria’s population) but also from those who fear the rise of Sunni extremists, who form a part of the revolutionary forces.  As sectarian as the conflict is becoming it is not the only dynamic at play, many Sunni inhabitants of Syria are as afraid of this as the Christians (10% of the population) are.

Demonstrators wave national flags and a portrait of Syria’s embattled Bashar al-Assad during a march in support of the President in Homs on January 6, 2013. Source: AFP

Smoke billows from burning tyres as a Syrian rebel of the Halab al-Shabah battalion under Al-Tawhid brigade fires towards regime forces during clashes in Al-Amariya district of the northern city of Aleppo on November 13, 2012. (AFP – AFP/Getty Images)

The number of Syrians who have fled their country since a deadly civil conflict erupted two years ago has hit one million, the UN’s refugee agency said. —Photo by AFP

The refugee situation is one of the worst effects of the conflict.  How long will these civilians be refugees?  When will they be able to return to their homes in Syria?  Will they have homes to return to?

Bushra (C), who is the 1000000 registered Syrian refugee at the UNHCR meets with the UN High Commissioner for Refugee’s Antonio Guterres (L) at a community center in the Al-Mina nrighbourhood of the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli on March 15, 2013. (AFP PHOTO/JOSEPH EID)

This is a conflict that has lasted over 2 years and taken over 70,000 lives with no obvious end in sight.  Hopefully something can happen to stop the fighting, a breakthrough at the UN Security Council, a decision by those involved in the fighting to at least commit to a temporary ceasefire to allow some form of diplomacy to interject in to the conflict.  Whatever happens Syria will never be the same, we can only hope it can emerge, somehow, together and not consumed with hatred between the mosaic of different peoples.

Jonathan Woodrow Martin


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