Memories of Syria

In mid-2010 I spent six weeks in Syria. I hadn’t planned the trip — I was travelling alone and happened to be in southern Turkey, so I decided to follow the road south.

What I found there stunned me.

Surrounded by architecture hundreds if not thousands of years old, I wandered through labyrinthine souqs, sipped tea in street-side cafes and chatted with curious Syrians who approached me with smiles. Very quickly I fell in love with this country and its boundlessly generous people. My travels took me through the ancient northern city of Aleppo, through Hama and Homs, across to the old Roman city of Palmyra and finally to Damascus. (Later, I wrote a travel article about Damascus, one of the most beautiful cities I have yet seen.)

Today, all of these places are embroiled in the tragic civil war that now envelops the country. Thousands of Syrians have been killed and wounded and millions displaced. We are all familiar with the Syria of today; every minute we see new images of bombed buildings, bloodied soldiers, body bags.

Now, as the war intensifies and the USA teeters on the brink of a possible military intervention, I share these images of Syria as it should be.

My hopes and thoughts are with these children I photographed in Apamea, and with all Syrians. I ache for my friends who have lost their homes, their loved ones, their lives.

Despite the horror of the current situation, I will continue to hope for peace in Syria.


  • mcddanielle

    September 17, 2013 at 1:17 pm

    It feels strange to “like” a post about the destruction of such a beautiful place, but I am grateful you’ve shared this. Being a global citizen is undeniably complicated and I hope the USA can find a way to genuinely address the humanitarian needs.

    • marleenaforward

      September 17, 2013 at 1:33 pm

      Thank you for your comment. The situation in Syria has become incredibly complicated but I also hope the international community can find a way to help steer the country towards peace.