Correction appended, March 27, 2015
Some buses in Aleppo, Syria, have been reconverted to serve as protection from snipers loyal to the country’s embattled President Bashar Assad.
This photo, taken in the rebel-controlled Bustan al-Qasr neighborhood on March 14, is by Karam Al-Masri, a young Syrian who became a photographer following the uprising in his country that has now spilled into four years of civil war. “I wasn’t a photographer before,” he tells TIME. “But I started to cover the events to show what is going on in my country.”
Agence France-Presse distributes Al-Masri’s photographs.
“The Ahrar al-Sham brigade [a group that adheres to the conservative Salafi interpretation of Sunni Islam] placed the buses in such a way,” he says. “They used ropes, pulleys and a number of men to get the buses in such position. They are [blocking] the view of regime snipers.”
These upended buses are now a common sight in Aleppo, says Al-Masri, with several neighborhoods using the crude set-up to bring back a fragile sense of security to a city divided between forces loyal to the government and a slew of disparate insurgent groups.
Correction: The original version of this story misstated the date Karam Al-Masri’s photograph was taken. It was March 14.