French-American photographer Jonathan Alpeyrie is only 33 years old but he’s captured the violence of 10 wars. Syria, he says, was the most intense, dangerous and unpredictable experience he’s ever had.
Journalists have been banned from entering Syria, a country the size of North Dakota that has been racked for more than a year by unrelenting violence. Much of the bloodshed has been between Syrians who want President Bashar al-Assad to go and the military al-Assad commands.
Alpeyrie walked seven miles across the Turkish border to capture these Syrians fighting to topple al-Assad. These Syrians are brave, he says, but their numbers appear to be dwindling. They seem to be losing, he said, yet they are determined to continue fighting.
The rebels have hidden their families in villages, fearing every day that the Syrian military will find them and finish them. The families have little to eat but shared what they had with Alpeyrie; they took great risk in talking with the photographer. Alpeyrie took tremendous risks, as well, to get inside the country with the help of underground activists.
He spent a week taking pictures, using the rebels’ homes to conceal himself. And in the dead of night, the only time safe to move, he photographed the rebels and their families fleeing to Turkey. They went on foot along rugged, hilly terrain carrying infants and praying they would not be caught.
"For me, the stress level was high at all times," he said.
- Ashley Fantz, CNN