War in Syria

Caught in the middle

As war rages in their country, thousands of Syrians continue to leave their homes in search of refuge in neighboring nations, while many others have decided to stay behind despite the constant threat of gunfire and airstrikes. The following set of photos shows the contrast in lives between those who stayed back and those who decided to leave.

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Fled Syria

Stayed in Syria

Above: Syrians run after an aircraft bombed the border town of Ras al-Ayn, sending panicked residents fleeing into the Turkish town of Ceylanpinar, on Nov. 12, 2013. The number of Syrian refugees in Turkey, including those awaiting registration, now exceeds 260,000, according to the U.N. refugee agency.

Right: Syrian children are seen on a bus as they and others fleeing violence arrive at the Syrian border town of Azaz on Aug. 15, 2012. According to the Turkish government, the number of Syrians registered and accommodated in the country’s refugee camps has increased by 23 percent since the beginning of 2013.

Fled

Stayed

Above: Residents run for cover to a basement as Syrian army artillery hits the compound of a rebel fighter’s family in Aleppo on Nov. 2, 2012. Much of Aleppo has been destroyed in the fierce fighting between rebels and government forces, making this historic city resemble a ghost town.

Left: Syrians mourn a rebel fighter who was killed by rocket fire on the outskirts of Aleppo on Nov. 17, 2012. President Bashar al-Assad’s well-equipped forces, armed with advanced weapons and heavy firepower, continue to have an edge over rebel fighters on the battlefield.

Fled

Stayed

Above: A boy lies under a mosquito net at Syria’s Bab al-Salameh border crossing on Aug. 28, 2012, as he and his family wait to enter a refugee camp in Turkey.

Right: A Syrian woman warms herself by a fire at a refugee camp in Azaz, Syria, on Dec. 17, 2012. More than a million Syrians have fled their homes in the two-year-long conflict, which has seen some fierce fighting between rebel and government forces.

Fled

Above: A vehicle’s windshield suffers damage in a suicide bombing in Damascus on Dec. 23, 2011. More than a hundred people were wounded in twin car explosions that targeted the security and intelligence headquarters in the heart of the Syrian capital.

Below: A despairing Syrian man stands amid the rubble of his home in the northern city of Aleppo on Feb. 23, 2013. Earlier that day, Syrian government forces fired three surface-to-surface missiles that killed at least 58 people in the city’s Tarik al-Bab district.

Stayed

Fled

Stayed

Left: Syrian civilians critically wounded in shelling on a refugee center in Aleppo on Oct. 4, 2012, receive treatment at the Dar al-Shifa hospital. Aleppo, more than half of which is now under rebel control, continues to be a focal point of the conflict in Syria.

Above: A wounded Syrian man is helped after he crosses into Turkey’s Hatay province on Oct. 10, 2012. Scores of Syrians, many of them women and children, crossed the Orontes River to flee the fighting at home and seek refuge in the Turkish village of Hacipasa.

Right: Abdullah Ahmed, 10, who suffered burns in an airstrike and fled his home with his family, stands outside a tent at a refugee camp in Atmeh, Syria, on Dec. 11, 2012. This past winter was a brutal one for thousands of refugees, who had to stay in tents soaked in rain and mud and did not have access to general cold and cough medicines.

Fled

Stayed

Above: A wounded Syrian woman, still in shock, leaves Dar al-Shifa hospital in Aleppo on Sept. 20, 2012. Thousands of civilians have been wounded in government shelling or been caught in the crossfire between rebels and the Syrian army.

Fled

Stayed

Above: A girl stands at the entrance of a makeshift home set up amid the ruins of an ancient building in Serjilla, Syria, on Feb. 11, 2013. The war has displaced thousands of Syrians internally, with many leaving their homes in restive provinces to restart their lives in other areas of the country.

Right: The clothes of refugees hang out to dry along a wall at a camp in the Bab al-Salam crossing on the Syria-Turkey border on Feb. 28, 2013.

Fled

Stayed

Above: A man sleeps in the basement of a building in Aleppo on Oct. 21, 2012, to protect himself from Syrian government shelling. Residents in rebel-held neighborhoods suffering the brunt of the war tell stories of having to live amid fighting on their streets while remaining resilient.

Left: A pile of shoes covered in blood from wounded and dead residents lies at the entrance of the emergency ward at a hospital in Aleppo’s Tarik al-Bab neighborhood on Nov. 1, 2012.

Fled

Above: Refugees walk through woods as they attempt to cross the Syrian border into Turkey on March 18, 2012.

Right: A man stands at the door of his house in the northern province of Idlib on March 5, 2012. Many refugees said they feared that they would be slaughtered in their homes as government forces hunt down members of the opposition.

Below: Young refugees carry their chairs into a classroom at a UNICEF-run school in the Zaatari refugee camp in Mafraq, Jordan, on Oct. 4, 2012. The European Union provided a grant to run the school.

Stayed

Fled

Stayed

Left: Syrian children study inside a makeshift school in a cellar of a building in the town of Deir al-Zour on Feb. 19, 2013. According to volunteers, the underground refuge is the only school in town.

Below: A boy sleeps on the sidewalk near Aleppo’s Karma Jabl district on Oct. 21, 2012. With death lurking on every corner, the survival instincts of Aleppo’s population are being stretched to the limit every day as the fierce battles between rebel and regime forces continue.

Right: A Syrian child plays inside the Boynuyogun Turkish Red Crescent refugee camp in Hatay, near the Syrian border, on June 18, 2011.

Below: A man walks toward his tent at the Zaatari refugee camp in Mafraq, Jordan, on Jan. 9, 2013. Many residents of this camp have suffered a harsh winter, with torrential rain that flooded hundreds of tents and forced women and infants to evacuate during freezing temperatures at night.

Fled

Stayed

Fled

Stayed

Right: A woman carries a girl at the Reyhanli refugee camp in Antakya, Turkey, on March 15, 2012. The continuing surge of Syrian refugees is overwhelming humanitarian groups in Turkey, and in the town of Reyhanli, Syrians are renting wedding halls and turning them into private refugee camps.

Fled

Stayed

Above: A boy stands outside a burned-out police station in Azaz, about 20 miles north of Aleppo, on July 29, 2012. Islamist anti-government groups like Jabhat al-Nusra have started enforcing strict religious laws in parts of the war-ravaged city that are under the control of rebels.

Left: Relatives of rebel fighter Moayad Ghafir mourn over his body before his funeral in Idlib, Syria, on June 4, 2012. Ghafir was killed during clashes with government forces.

EXIT

PHOTOS: AFP/Getty Images, AP, Reuters. GRAPHIC: Hilary Fung, Anup Kaphle and May-Ying Lam - The Washington Post. Published March 21, 2013.

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