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Snapshots: Syrian photographers capture life after the quakes

Shining a spotlight on northern Syria with one weekly photo of what matters to people on the ground.

A man in medical scrubs is tending to a baby in an incubator. Abd Almajed Alkarh/TNH

What does earthquake recovery look like in a place already ravaged by war? 


Find out for yourself with this weekly view from the ground in rebel-held northwest Syria. Each week, photographers share photos that represent what life is like now in a place hit hard by the 6 February earthquakes.


Check back with “Snapshots” to see all the photos, and to listen to the photographers explain why they matter to them as – long after other cameras have moved on – The New Humanitarian looks to keep the spotlight on affected people in the region, which was already in dire need of aid before this latest disaster struck. 

Comments have been condensed for length and clarity.


Week of 2 April 2023

February’s earthquakes, which killed more than 57,000 people across Türkiye and Syria, were followed by hundreds of aftershocks in the days that followed. This generated panic among residents in northwest Syria, including pregnant women. As a result, the region’s hospitals reportedly saw a sharp rise in premature births in the aftermath of the quakes.


For our Snapshots series, photographer and journalist Abd Almajed Alkarh speaks with one family reeling from the death of their baby boy, who was born three months early.  

Week of 26 March 2023


The earthquakes in Türkiye and Syria have left hundreds of thousands of children and young people displaced, according to UNICEF. 


In our fifth instalment of Snapshots, photojournalist Moawia Atrash documents 18-year-old Naiim Moussa’s efforts to salvage furniture from his destroyed home. Naiim lost his immediate family in the earthquakes, and is now preparing to live alone in Idlib.



Week of 19 March 2023


Six weeks on from the quakes, the situation takes a turn for the worse as dozens of camps in northwestern Syria are hit by flooding after a heavy storm passes through the region. The death toll across Türkiye and Syria has climbed above 56,000.


Photographer Abd Almajed Alkarh captures images of a pharmacist who was left homeless when last month’s earthquakes flattened his home on the outskirts of Idlib city, killing his wife and two children. Left with no immediate family, Mohammed Wardi is now living in the on-call room at Ibn Sina hospital, where he also works, until he can find a new home.




Week of 12 March 2023

This week marks 12 years since the start of Syria’s war, highlighting the fact that the earthquakes have compounded an already desperate humanitarian situation. Nearly 60,000 people made homeless by the quakes are reported to be staying in newly set up displacement sites, and the humanitarian assessment NGO REACH says their most urgent needs are winter supplies, shelter, and cash.


For a novel perspective, photojournalist Moawia Atrash turns his lens towards Mohammad Alaa Aljaleel, best known as the “cat man of Aleppo”, who has been busy rescuing and caring for pets trapped under the rubble. 



Week of 5 March 2023

One month on from the quakes, aid has begun to reach rebel-held northwest Syria, but large-scale reconstruction in the near future looks increasingly unlikely.

Atrash takes his camera to a village in Idlib province that was hit hard by Syrian government bombing in past years. Now, most of the village’s residents are sleeping in tents. 



Week of 26 February 2023

Two weeks after the catastrophic earthquakes in Türkiye and Syria, the death toll climbs towards 50,000. With search and rescue efforts ending, the focus shifts towards getting aid to the millions who have lost their homes, jobs, and loved ones in the middle of winter. 


Atrash visits a town in the northern outskirts of Aleppo province that was almost completely destroyed in the quakes.



Edited by Ciara Lee and Annie Slemrod.

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