JORDAN. Zaatari. Refugee Camp. September 1, 2012. A Syrian boy waves from aboard a bus heading back to Syria from the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan. Many families have decided to return to Syria due to the bad living conditions in the Zaatari refugee camp. Zaatari, Jordan. September 1, 2012.The camp was first opened in July 2012 to host the Syrians fleeing the violence that erupted in 2011 and 2012. As of late August 2012 the camp houses 15,000 Syrian refugees.Contact email:New York : photography@magnumphotos.comParis : magnum@magnumphotos.frLondon : magnum@magnumphotos.co.ukTokyo : tokyo@magnumphotos.co.jpContact phones:New York : +1 212 929 6000Paris: + 33 1 53 42 50 00London: + 44 20 7490 1771Tokyo: + 81 3 3219 0771Image URL:http://www.magnumphotos.com/Archive/C.aspx?VP3=ViewBox_VPage&IID=2K7O3RKHMKU0&CT=Image&IT=ZoomImage01_VForm
A Syrian boy waves from aboard a bus heading back to Syria from the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan on September 1, 2012. Many families decided to return to Syria due to the bad living conditions in the Zaatari refugee camp. The camp was first opened in July 2012 to host the Syrians fleeing the violence that erupted in 2011 and 2012.Moises Saman—Magnum
JORDAN. Zaatari. Refugee Camp. September 1, 2012. A Syrian boy waves from aboard a bus heading back to Syria from the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan. Many families have decided to return to Syria due to the bad living conditions in the Zaatari refugee camp. Zaatari, Jordan. September 1, 2012.The camp was first opened in July 2012 to host the Syrians fleeing the violence that erupted in 2011 and 2012. As of late August 2012 the camp houses 15,000 Syrian refugees.Contact email:New York : photography@magnumphotos.comParis : magnum@magnumphotos.frLondon : magnum@magnumphotos.co.ukTokyo : tokyo@magnumphotos.co.jpContact phones:New York : +1 212 929 6000Paris: + 33 1 53 42 50 00London: + 44 20 7490 1771Tokyo: + 81 3 3219 0771Image URL:http://www.magnumphotos.com/Archive/C.aspx?VP3=ViewBox_VPage&IID=2K7O3RKHMKU0&CT=Image&IT=ZoomImage01_VForm
JORDAN. Amman. June 14, 2013. 9-year-old Hannen(right), sits on a swing inside her extended family's home in the Wadi Haddad district of East Amman, an area where many Syrian refugees have rented apartments. Haneen's family fled the besieged Syrian city of Homs two months ago. Her father and all the men in the family are currently in Syria fighting with the Free Syrian Army.Contact email:New York : photography@magnumphotos.comParis : magnum@magnumphotos.frLondon : magnum@magnumphotos.co.ukTokyo : tokyo@magnumphotos.co.jpContact phones:New York : +1 212 929 6000Paris: + 33 1 53 42 50 00London: + 44 20 7490 1771Tokyo: + 81 3 3219 0771Image URL:http://www.magnumphotos.com/Archive/C.aspx?VP3=ViewBox_VPage&IID=2K7O3RKN1E5S&CT=Image&IT=ZoomImage01_VForm
JORDAN. Zaatari, Refugee Camp. August 30, 2012. Syrian refugees, mostly women and children, at the Zaatari refugee camp near the Syrian border in Jordan. Contact email:New York : photography@magnumphotos.comParis : magnum@magnumphotos.frLondon : magnum@magnumphotos.co.ukTokyo : tokyo@magnumphotos.co.jpContact phones:New York : +1 212 929 6000Paris: + 33 1 53 42 50 00London: + 44 20 7490 1771Tokyo: + 81 3 3219 0771Image URL:http://www.magnumphotos.com/Archive/C.aspx?VP3=ViewBox_VPage&IID=2K7O3RKH34UF&CT=Image&IT=ZoomImage01_VForm
JORDAN, Zaatari. September 1, 2012.Dust sweeps over the Zaatari refugee camp near the Syrian border in Jordan. The camp was first opened in July 2012 to host the Syrians fleeing the violence that erupted in 2011 and 2012. As of late August 2012 the camp houses 15,000 Syrian refugees.Contact email:New York : photography@magnumphotos.comParis : magnum@magnumphotos.frLondon : magnum@magnumphotos.co.ukTokyo : tokyo@magnumphotos.co.jpContact phones:New York : +1 212 929 6000Paris: + 33 1 53 42 50 00London: + 44 20 7490 1771Tokyo: + 81 3 3219 0771Image URL:http://www.magnumphotos.com/Archive/C.aspx?VP3=ViewBox_VPage&IID=2K7O3RKHMV0Z&CT=Image&IT=ZoomImage01_VForm
Al-Muhamra, north Lebanon. June 2013.A Syrian boy inside the Al-Muhamra tent settlement in north Lebanon.(Photo by Moises Saman/MAGNUM)
SYRIA. Along the Syrian-Turkish Border. July 22, 2012. Syrian refugees rest under a tree before crossing into Turkey near the Turkish town of Killis.Contact email:New York : photography@magnumphotos.comParis : magnum@magnumphotos.frLondon : magnum@magnumphotos.co.ukTokyo : tokyo@magnumphotos.co.jpContact phones:New York : +1 212 929 6000Paris: + 33 1 53 42 50 00London: + 44 20 7490 1771Tokyo: + 81 3 3219 0771Image URL:http://www.magnumphotos.com/Archive/C.aspx?VP3=ViewBox_VPage&IID=2K7O3RKITBVW&CT=Image&IT=ZoomImage01_VForm
TURKEY. March 2, 2012. Along the Turkish-Syrian border in Hatay Province. Under the cover of night a network of Syrian smugglers transport a family fleeing the violence inside Syria on a rowboat across the Orentes River, which marks a stretch of the border between northern Syria and southern Turkey. Since the start of the Syrian conflict in March of 2011 over 11,000 Syrian refugees have fled the country and are now living in refugee camps along the Turkish border.Contact email:New York : photography@magnumphotos.comParis : magnum@magnumphotos.frLondon : magnum@magnumphotos.co.ukTokyo : tokyo@magnumphotos.co.jpContact phones:New York : +1 212 929 6000Paris: + 33 1 53 42 50 00London: + 44 20 7490 1771Tokyo: + 81 3 3219 0771Image URL:http://www.magnumphotos.com/Archive/C.aspx?VP3=ViewBox_VPage&IID=2K7O3RKLN6MA&CT=Image&IT=ZoomImage01_VForm
JORDAN. Zaatari. Refugee Camp. September 1, 2012. A woman walks through the Zaatari refugee camp near the Syrian border in Jordan. The camp was first opened in July 2012 to host the Syrians fleeing the violence that erupted in 2011 and 2012. As of late August 2012 the camp houses 15,000 Syrian refugees.Contact email:New York : photography@magnumphotos.comParis : magnum@magnumphotos.frLondon : magnum@magnumphotos.co.ukTokyo : tokyo@magnumphotos.co.jpContact phones:New York : +1 212 929 6000Paris: + 33 1 53 42 50 00London: + 44 20 7490 1771Tokyo: + 81 3 3219 0771Image URL:http://www.magnumphotos.com/Archive/C.aspx?VP3=ViewBox_VPage&IID=2K7O3RKHMTGN&CT=Image&IT=ZoomImage01_VForm
Amman, Jordan. June 2013.Thin mattresses and pillows used as beds inside a one-room apartment that houses an extended family of seven Syrian refugees in East Amman, Jordan.(Photo by Moises Saman/MAGNUM)
TURKEY. Boynuyogun, Hatay Province. March 4, 2012. A Syrian boy stands behind a plastic tent cover at a refugee camp near the Turkish border village of Boynuyogun. The camp houses over 1800 Syrians that have fled the violence since the start of the conflict in March of 2011.Contact email:New York : photography@magnumphotos.comParis : magnum@magnumphotos.frLondon : magnum@magnumphotos.co.ukTokyo : tokyo@magnumphotos.co.jpContact phones:New York : +1 212 929 6000Paris: + 33 1 53 42 50 00London: + 44 20 7490 1771Tokyo: + 81 3 3219 0771Image URL:http://www.magnumphotos.com/Archive/C.aspx?VP3=ViewBox_VPage&IID=2K7O3RKLN30Y&CT=Image&IT=ZoomImage01_VForm
LEBANON. Ballanet al-Hissa. June 7, 2013. Shaha(center), a Syrian refugee, living in the Ballanet al-Hissa tent settlement in north Lebanon.Contact email:New York : photography@magnumphotos.comParis : magnum@magnumphotos.frLondon : magnum@magnumphotos.co.ukTokyo : tokyo@magnumphotos.co.jpContact phones:New York : +1 212 929 6000Paris: + 33 1 53 42 50 00London: + 44 20 7490 1771Tokyo: + 81 3 3219 0771Image URL:http://www.magnumphotos.com/Archive/C.aspx?VP3=ViewBox_VPage&IID=2K7O3RKN1SPE&CT=Image&IT=ZoomImage01_VForm
TURKEY. Boynuyogun. March 4, 2012. Tents covered in plastic at a refugee camp near the Turkish border town of Boynuyogun housing over 1100 Syrian refugees that have fled the violence since the start of the conflict in March of 2011.Contact email:New York : photography@magnumphotos.comParis : magnum@magnumphotos.frLondon : magnum@magnumphotos.co.ukTokyo : tokyo@magnumphotos.co.jpContact phones:New York : +1 212 929 6000Paris: + 33 1 53 42 50 00London: + 44 20 7490 1771Tokyo: + 81 3 3219 0771Image URL:http://www.magnumphotos.com/Archive/C.aspx?VP3=ViewBox_VPage&IID=2K7O3RKLNW56&CT=Image&IT=ZoomImage01_VForm
TURKEY. Antakya. March 2, 2012. Ahmed, a Syrian refugee, lays in a hospital bed in the Turkish city of Antakya after stepping on a mine as he hiked across the border from Syria into Turkey. Reports suggest that Syrian forces have been planting landmines along the porous Turkish border.Contact email:New York : photography@magnumphotos.comParis : magnum@magnumphotos.frLondon : magnum@magnumphotos.co.ukTokyo : tokyo@magnumphotos.co.jpContact phones:New York : +1 212 929 6000Paris: + 33 1 53 42 50 00London: + 44 20 7490 1771Tokyo: + 81 3 3219 0771Image URL:http://www.magnumphotos.com/Archive/C.aspx?VP3=ViewBox_VPage&IID=2K7O3RKL904M&CT=Image&IT=ZoomImage01_VForm
TURKEY. Boynuyogun. March 4, 2012. Syrian refugees inside a refugee camp near the Turkish border village of Boynuyogun. The camp houses over 1800 Syrians that have fled the violence since the start of the conflict in March of 2011.Contact email:New York : photography@magnumphotos.comParis : magnum@magnumphotos.frLondon : magnum@magnumphotos.co.ukTokyo : tokyo@magnumphotos.co.jpContact phones:New York : +1 212 929 6000Paris: + 33 1 53 42 50 00London: + 44 20 7490 1771Tokyo: + 81 3 3219 0771Image URL:http://www.magnumphotos.com/Archive/C.aspx?VP3=ViewBox_VPage&IID=2K7O3RKL93OY&CT=Image&IT=ZoomImage01_VForm
Tekrit, north Lebanon. June 2013.A Syrian family in a classroom that is not their home in a school occupied by Syrian refugees in the village of Tekrit, north Lebanon.(Photo by Moises Saman/MAGNUM)
Bar-elias, Bekaa Valley, Lebanon. June 2013.6-year-old Mayar(center) with his brother and father inside their temporary home in the town of Bar-elias, Lebanon. The family is from Qusair, Syria.(Photo by Moises Saman/MAGNUM)
Bar-elias, Bekaa Valley, Lebanon. June 2013.A young Syrian refugee stands behind barbwire at a small lake next to a spring where refugees collect drinking water on the outskirts of the Al-Jarrah tent settlement in the Bekaa Valley, Lebanon.(Photo by Moises Saman/MAGNUM)
Al Marj, Bekaa Valley, Lebanon. June 2013.Syrian children inside the Arab Lwais tent settlement in the Bekaa Valley of Lebanon.(Photo by Moises Saman/MAGNUM)
JORDAN. Zaatari. Refugee Camp. August 31, 2012. A Syrian family walk through a sandstorm inside the Zaatari refugee camp near the Syrian border in Jordan. Contact email:New York : photography@magnumphotos.comParis : magnum@magnumphotos.frLondon : magnum@magnumphotos.co.ukTokyo : tokyo@magnumphotos.co.jpContact phones:New York : +1 212 929 6000Paris: + 33 1 53 42 50 00London: + 44 20 7490 1771Tokyo: + 81 3 3219 0771Image URL:http://www.magnumphotos.com/Archive/C.aspx?VP3=ViewBox_VPage&IID=2K7O3RKH3NH6&CT=Image&IT=ZoomImage01_VForm
Al Marj, Bekaa Valley, Lebanon. June 2013.Syrian children inside their tent in the Al-Jarrah tent settlement in the Bekaa Valley, Lebanon.(Photo by Moises Saman/MAGNUM)
Amman, Jordan. June 2013.8-year-old Hussein(right) and his sister Firyal(left), both suffering from cerebral palsy, inside their family's one-room house in the Wadi Haddad district of East Amman, an area where a large number of Syrian refugees have settled.(Photo by Moises Saman/MAGNUM)
Bekaa Valley, Lebanon. June 2013. Syrian refugees outside a tent settlement near the town of Bar-elias, in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley.(Photo by Moises Saman/MAGNUM)
Zaatari, Jordan. June 20313.A man walks through a sandstorm on the edge of the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan.(Photo by Moises Saman/MAGNUM)
A Syrian boy waves from aboard a bus heading back to Syria from the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan on September 1, 2012.
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Moises Saman—Magnum
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Nowhere People: The Refugees of Syria by Moises Saman

Jul 02, 2013

Another war, another refugee crisis. This reoccurring dynamic has become all too familiar to me after years of working in areas of conflict. Standing in the middle of Zaatari, the sprawling refugee camp for Syrians in Jordan, I could squint and be transported back in time to similar scenes I’ve witnessed in places like Albania, Haiti, Afghanistan and Congo. These awful places share a common scent — a mix of dust, sweat and brewed tea — that at times is accompanied by the unnerving sound that wind makes against flapping tents. The countless testimonies of massacres, executions, rape, ethnic cleansing, escape and survival merge into a single narrative — slightly different versions of the same horror movie.

TIMETIME 

I remember photographing the first wave of Syrian refugees in early 2012. Under the cover of a cold winter night, a young couple held tightly to their baby girl while balancing aboard a rickety boat that was smuggling them across the Orontes River, from Syria’s Idlib Province into the safety of Turkey. Since then, more than 1.5 million Syrians have fled their homeland, seeking shelter wherever they can find it: renting apartments in east Amman, sleeping in makeshift tent settlements in the Bekaa Valley, or confined to fenced-in tent-cities along the borders of Jordan, Turkey, and Iraq.

TIMETIME 

As the war drags on, some of these camps are taking on the shapes of more permanent settlements. Cement structures and pre-fab trailers are slowly replacing the more temporary cardboard and plastic tents, echoing the past transformation of the original Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon or Gaza. Refugees, too, become hardened with time, and their initial openness to share their experiences with a visiting stranger turn to silence, anger and frustration.

Moises Saman is a Cairo-based freelance photographer and an associate member of Magnum Photos.

Some of these photographs were taken between 2012 and 2013, most recently commissioned by Save the Children, the international child’s rights organization.

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