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Behind the Lens: A Journey Through Idlib

Written by Karen Leigh Published on Read time Approx. 1 minutes

Contributing Photographer Nicole Tung is a 26-year-old American whose pictorials from Syria have been published in TIME magazine, The New York Times, and other global news outlets. The Hong Kong native is a graduate of New York University and has traveled in and out of the country since the early months of its war. In December, she focused her lens on civilian stories during a trip to hard-hit Idlib province.

She discovered Maarat Al Nouman, a strategic town that connects the main cities of Damascus, Hama, Idlib and Aleppo and has been emptied of its 100,000 civilians – leaving only the Free Syrian Army to defend the town from being taken by the Syrian government.

In another village, Tung found children hiding in a cave. “The town cannot be named for fear of retribution by its residents,” she wrote. “The ruins and underground caves where these families shelter provide few comforts for the children, many of whom are sick. Shelling from government positions often reaches these areas. Although most of the displaced have fled to Turkey and other neighboring countries, many Syrians who lack money and means of transportation opt to stay inside the country seeking shelter wherever they can find it.”

In another photograph, a young girl attends a makeshift school, with class taught by her father. “There has been no regular school or classes running in many parts of Syria for nearly two years,” Tung says. Asked why she wore her school uniform despite her being the only student, the girl replied: “I am going to school.”

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