A young Syrian injured in an attack by regime forces waits to be taken to hospital, October 21, 2012, in Aleppo. (AFP Photo / Fabio Bucciarelli)
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It was October 21, 2012, and the army loyal to Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad had just bombarded the Shaar district in the northern city of Aleppo. Everything was in total disarray. Amid the carnage, independent photographer Fabio Bucciarelli, who contributes to AFP, captured this powerful series of images. On October 12, 2013, he received the Nikon Photo Prize in the professional category of the the prestigious Bayeux-Calvados Award for War Correspondents.
“The situation was completely crazy,” Bucciarelli says. “It was total chaos, with shocked survivors and injured people rushing and shouting "Allahu Akbar" everywhere. Every vehicle available was used to transport the wounded to the hospital: cars, taxis, and even vans, like the one in the picture. The hospital was, in fact, an incredibly small room stuffed with injured people, with floods of blood on the floor. It was the craziest day of my assignment in Syria.”
In a hospital in Aleppo. October 21, 2012. (AFP Photo / Fabio Bucciarelli)
Bucciarelli, 32, spent about 40 days in Syria after having covered almost the entirety of the Arab Spring uprisings.
“I haven’t been back to Syria since then,” the Italian photographer says. “The situation has been by far too dangerous in the last few months. The Syria war is a huge massacre against civilian populations. I know people who have been kidnapped there, like James Foley. I hope this award will help to make the people remember them, and remember all the innocent victims of this terrible war in Syria.
A body in the back of a truck in front of an Aleppo hospital. October 21, 2012. (AFP Photo / Fabio Bucciarelli)
“In my work, I also try to cover all the different aspects of the war. Not only the front lines. I want to show that, during a war, the people continue to live their daily lives.”
Bucciarelli’s work has already won him the Robert Capa Gold Medal Award and a World Press Photo prize this year.
This year’s Bayeux prizes also yielded an award for Mexican photographer Javier Manzano, another AFP contributor, who won a prize for his work during an assignment in Aleppo. The work has already earned him a Pulitzer Prize and recognition from World Press Photo. He wrote about the image last year for this blog.
Two Syrian rebels take sniper positions in the heavily contested neighbourhood of Karmal Jabl in central Aleppo on October 18, 2012.(AFP Photo / Javier Manzano)
Finally, AFP television journalist Djilali Belaid scored second prize in the short-video category for his dangerous assignment to Krak des Chevaliers in Syria during the summer of 2012.
He too had written a blog about how he was able to gain access to the besieged ancient citadel, the only foreign journalist to have done so during the civil war.