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    Posted April 23, 2013 by
    Aleppo, Syria
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Photo essays: Your stories in pictures

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    Conflict within Syria


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     A devout man prays. Children wave flags at an anti-government protest. A fighter weeps over a slain comrade. These are a few faces of the Syrian conflict captured in remarkable images by photographer LeeHarper in March the Syrian town of Aleppo and Azaz, a smaller town north of Aleppo where internal refugees fleeing the fighting had settled in camps. The reason for his visit? "I wanted to cover the tragic and complicated situation," he says, simply. Harper found a country wracked by vicious fighting between rebels and government troups and fractious sectarian divisions. He took photos of children traumatised by war living in squalid camps, anti-government rebels from the Free Syrian Army (FSA) praying, gathering, fighting, and mourning, and civilians desperately trying to survive in a brutal conflict. Despite the trauma of war, he found a people still keen to assist international visitors, despite questions over international intervention and aid. "Most people are extremely welcoming, even if their home has been bombed or [there is] fighting that continues in their neighborhood," he said. He also had encounters a little too close for comfort, dodging sniper allies and getting caught in crossfire between FSA rebels and government forces. "I was not really scared but I had to take a methodical approach to the situation," he said. "If you are too scared, you can't do your job."
    - sarahbrowngb, CNN iReport producer

    The people within Syria reacted with mixed views while I was there asking questions -- why hasn't Europe and the US intervened, where is international aid saying they want weapons, medical supplies, food, no fly zone, etc? This is very hard to explain and to answer their questions due to the complicated situation within Syria.


    Most people are extremely welcoming, even if their home has been bombed or fighting continues in their neighborhood. More people are pledging their support to Jabal Al Nursa, which is linked to al-Qaeda due to the fact they're more well equipped and winning the battles for the Syrians. Speaking to various FSA fighters, most want to become a martyr for the revolution and for the fall of Assad. There is sectarianism within the ranks of the FSA due to Sharia law being active in Aleppo now, but other Katibas [groups of fighters] want democracy - the reason of the start of the revolution. The living conditions of the refugee camp of IDPs I visited in Bab Al Salam, Azaz, are shocking. There is no major international aid going into the camp, except UNHCR tents. Sixty percent of those living in the camp are children who are affected the most, suffering from many illnesses due to hygiene issues and PTSD from the tragic events they have witnessed in the conflict.

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