On December 17, 2010, a young street vendor named Mohamed Bouazizi set himself on fire in the city of Sidi Bouzid in Tunisia. He died in hospital some days later. His death, seen as a desperate protest against police brutality, was the prelude to Tunisia’s Jasmine Revolution.
The uprising spread from there to other Arab countries. After the fall of Tunisian ruler Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak had to resign, Moammar Gaddafi was killed in Libya and Yemen ruler Ali Abdullah Saleh was displaced.
Nor could Syria escape the uprising of its people. But the regime of President Bashar al-Assad has been fighting fire with fire since March 2011. Both the regular army and the Assad-friendly Shabiha militia have viciously beaten down any and all opposition demonstrations and attacked armed resistance groups.
To date, the Syrian civil war has killed more than 40,000 people, most of them civilians. Meanwhile, tens of thousands have fled to neighbouring countries. The International Committee of the Red Cross expects that 500,000 people will need help by the year’s end.
Peruvian photographer Moises Saman visited Syria as well as refugee camps in Jordan and Turkey, where the living conditions are very harsh. His images are evidence of the nightmare that follows people there.