A heartbreaking photo of a young Syrian girl selling bread amid destruction

May 14, 2013

A girl sits on a chair placed among rubble as she sells bread on a damaged street in Deir al-Zour May 9, 2013. (REUTERS/ Khalil Ashawi)

The Syrian town of Deir al-Zour, located far from the capital, has seen some hard months. Fierce fighting between regime forces and rebels killed hundreds of civilians, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, and left much of the town destroyed. Though it's now largely rebel-controlled, the al-Qaeda-allied rebel group Jabhat al-Nusra is exerting greater influence.

Even in Deir al-Zour, though, life goes on. Families have to eat and they have to work. This photo shows a young girl selling bread on a street that, although clear of fighting, still bears the scars of Syria's war: buildings bombed to rubble, windows blocked up in a desperate attempt to turn homes into bunkers, walls pock-marked with bullet holes. Her table, a sort of makeshift storefront, sits next to a concrete beam that appear to have toppled from an adjacent building, to which it's still attached by rebar.

The photo is an encouraging sign of the hints of normality persisting in some Syrian cities, but it's also a reminder of how deeply damaged the country has been – psychologically and politically as well as physically – and how long it could take to repair.

For photographs, videos and tweets on Syria, see our Syria Grid.

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Max Fisher | May 14, 2013