Carole Alfarah
  • Syrian photojournalist Carole Alfarah's ongoing project, "Stories From the Backyard of War," documents Syrian Refugees who have fled to neighboring Lebanon for safety. Alfarah focuses on the individual story of each refugee she encounters, giving the viewer an intimate look at the person behind the refugee label. The following is an introduction to her project focusing on the stories of Hanan and Shameeh. Pictured, Hanan's daughter, Shayma'a, 9, lies on the ground in pain from a toothache, in the Shatila refugee camp, Beirut, April 20, 2015.
    Carole Alfarah
  • Hanan: the Widow

    Each day, Hanan would cook lunch for her husband and impatiently wait for her husband to come home to eat with her and the children. After lunch, Hanan would prepare the bed so he can rest. When he awoke, they would drink coffee together before he went back to work. Hanan tells Alfarah that this is what she misses most from her life before the killing of her husband and before the war in Syria. Pictured, Hanan, 31, folds her children's clothes while they sleep on the floor in their small rented house in Shatila refugee camp in Beirut, April 21, 2015.
    Carole Alfarah
  • The witness of Hanan's husband Ahmad's murder was his eldest son, Mohammad, who was 8 years old when he witnessed the killing of his father. Mohammad was playing outside his father's shop when unknown masked gunmen stopped with their car in front of the shop and killed Ahmad. Mohammad suffers from psychological trauma after witnessing the death of his father. He said, "I saw how they killed my father, I saw him fall down . ... His blood was everywhere. ... I was scared and alone." Pictured, a photo of Ahmad at Hanan's home in Shatila refugee camp in Beirut, April 20, 2015.
    Carole Alfarah
  • Three days after the killing of her husband, Hanan gave birth to her youngest boy, who she named after her late husband, Ahmad. A few months after the death of her husband , the conflict in Syria intensified and turned Hunan's neighborhood into a battleground. Hanan fled to Lebanon with her children and her mother-in-law. They became refugees in Lebanon to find safety for her children. Pictured, a relative carries Hanan's youngest son, Ahmad, back to his home in Shatila refugee camp in Beirut, April 22, 2015.
    Carole Alfarah
  • According to the U.N.'s refugee agency, Syrians fleeing conflict continue to make up the majority of refugees in Lebanon. There were over 1.3 million Syrian refugees in Lebanon in 2015. Humanitarian needs show little signs of abating. As their displacement extends and their savings deplete, refugees' socio-economic vulnerability increases. Hanan and her children can barely survive with the aid she receives and rations of one meal per day for her family. Pictured, Hanan cooking at the Shatila refugee camp in Beirut, April 22, 2015.
    Carole Alfarah
  • As a result of the war in Syria, Hanan found herself a widow facing the difficulties of being a refugee in another land with her children. Hanan told Alfarah, "Each day I wish I was no longer alive, I cannot stand this misery and cruelty any longer, but at the same time I have no choice but to resist and to stand strong ... for the sake of my children because they need me." Pictured, electric wires that hang between the buildings in Shatila street, where Hanan and her children live in the Shatila refugee camp, Beirut, April 22, 2015.
    Carole Alfarah
  • Shameeh: the Silent Victim

    Shameeh, a 59-year-old Assyrian Christian woman from an Assyrian village in northeastern Syria, sits at her brother's house in Lebanon where they became refugees after they fled the brutal war in Syria, Oct. 9, 2015. Shameeh was held six months by the Islamic State militants in northeastern Syria. She was released with other sick elderly Assyrians. Her brother is still held with the Islamic State among other Assyrian Christians hostages. After what she has witnessed in the ISIS prison, Shameeh suffers from trauma.
    Carole Alfarah
  • It was 10 a.m. when Shameeh, sitting on the balcony of her house, started to hear gunfire. Her youngest brother and two sisters were inside the house preparing breakfast. They came out in a hurry to see what was happening. Islamic State forces had surrounded their village and forced its residents out of their homes. Shameeh with her brother and sisters were among the victims who were taken by force as hostages by the Islamic State militants that day. Pictured, Shameeh looks out to the street from the balcony at her brother's house in Beirut, Oct. 8, 2015.
    Carole Alfarah
  • Shameeh's brother, Eshak, 50, escaped the war in Syria two years ago, before the invasion of the Islamic State to the Assyrian villages in northeastern Syria. He refuged in Lebanon with his wife and their four children and his wife's family. They are all living together, 10 family members, in a small home of two bedrooms and one living room located in the suburb of Beirut. Pictured, a view from the window to the street in Hazmieh town where Shameeh lives with her brother and his family in a rented house after they escaped the war in Syria, Oct. 8, 2015.
    Carole Alfarah
  • Shameeh's family discuss the Assyrians who are still held as hostages by the Islamic State in Syria the day after it was reported that three Assyrian men who were taken as hostages had been executed. In late November of this year, Shameeh and her family found out that her two sisters were released from ISIS but that their brother remains a hostage with many other Assyrian Syrians. Pictured, Shameeh's brother's rented house in Beirut, Oct. 9, 2015.
    Carole Alfarah
  • According to Shameeh, during her capture, everyday a man called Abou Jinan from the Islamic State entered their arrest room and asked the Assyrian Christian women to convert to Islam. Abou Jinan was young, in his thirties with an Iraqi accent. His wife used to visit them too and hand them the Qur'an. Pictured, Shameeh, right, and her brother's mother-in-law, Gena, in the house where the family lives as refugees in Beirut, Oct. 8, 2015. Gena weeps on the couch listening to the story of Shameeh's capture while an Assyrian flag hangs in the background.
    Carole Alfarah
  • Shameeh tells Alfarah, "The most painful moments of my detention were when members of the Islamic State entered our arrest room and walked between us choosing the youngest and most beautiful women among us. They would take them by force with them. After two days, they would bring them back with traces of burns and wounds covering their bodies. The girls and women were silent, they refused to talk, but we knew what happened to them, the poor girls, they were tortured and raped. This hurts me too much, I don't want to talk anymore." Pictured, Shameeh in Beirut, Oct. 8, 2015.
    Carole Alfarah
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