Monday, December 17, 2012

The Horrors of War

AP's photographer Narciso Contreras writes about his feeling as he films and photographs the horrors of war in Syria:

I have been covering the situation  in Aleppo since August. When I first arrived here, I was taken to the Hullok and Hananu districts – areas that were subject to heavy bombing. Since then, I have known what to expect. It scared me.

My time is spent photographing the situation faced by civilians in Aleppo, how they cope with hardly anything and how they deal with their tragedy. There is no electricity, no petrol, there is a lack of bread. It is also now winter and the city is freezing.

The people here are divided over the war: some support the insurgency, some don't. A large number of the population are desperate, they want this war to end; at least in the area controlled by the rebel fighters, which is constantly under heavy shelling and suffers from a lack of supplies. Most of the areas controlled by the rebels are working-class neighbourhoods. There is no place for them to go. They continue with their daily lives as far as they can, leaving everything in the hands of Allah. They call themselves martyrs and are open to sacrifice themselves.

The most brutal situation that I have witnessed has been the shelling of civilian neighbourhoods. It has been indiscriminate. The bombs and mortar artillery can land anywhere at any moment. It is too dangerous to dare to stand on the street for any length of time.

I once went to the hospital to photograph victims of the shelling. There was not enough space, so all the wounded and lifeless bodies were just lying on the floor. I felt dizzy when I saw one child lying on the floor, weeping, bleeding from his foot while holding a coin in his hand. He was injured while queuing for bread and a mortar hit the bakery. He was terrified. When his mother came to find him he opened his hand, giving back the coin and said, "Please mum, don't send me out for bread again, I don't want to go and buy bread any more."......

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