Thursday 2 May 2013 - Decoding
Gathering news in Syria has become a dangerous, and sometimes deadly, assignment, whether for foreign correspondents, Syrian reporters or a growing legion of 'citizen journalists' who relay what they witness via Facebook and Twitter. AFP has recently tightened its rules for fielding reports from Syria, part of an effort to avoid undue risk. (AFP Photo/HO/Youtube)
Friday 26 April 2013 - Behind the image
Syria offers grim bounty for photojournalists
As Syria’s conflict enters its third year, the country’s demolished cityscapes and bloodied population continue to provide a lamentably rich tableau for photographers. And while it may seem strange to laud images of destruction and suffering, photojournalism awards can also serve to keep important issues in the public eye.
Tuesday 16 April 2013 - Behind the image
AFP Photo/Javier Manzano
A Pulitzer picture first day on the job
“Javier Manzano took this masterpiece of a rebel sniper in Aleppo, Syria, along with three other stunning images we moved on AFP’s photo wire, on his first day working with the agency,” recalls AFP’s Deputy Photo Director for the Middle East and North Africa Hasan Mroue, who validated the photos. “Another colleague was with me when we chose them, and we both could see that this was winning material of superior artistic skill besides its news worthiness and the courage it takes to be in such a dangerous spot.”
Thursday 11 April 2013 - Behind the image
AFP Photo/Louai Beshara
Carnage in the heart of Damascus
"It was an ordinary day in Damascus: we woke up to the sound of bombs falling on not-so-distant suburb, and then dropped our kids off at school without the comforting certainty that we would see them again," reports AFP photographer Louai Bachara, based in the Syrian capital. "It has been like that for almost a year now. A few days earlier, a technician in the AFP bureau was injured when a bomb exploded near his car." Things were about to get a lot worse.
Saturday 22 December 2012 - Behind the image
AFP PHOTO/Marco Longari
Shooting beyond the violence
AFP's Marco Longari was this week named as Time magazine’s wire photographer of 2012, in recognition of what the US publication described as his "indispensable" coverage from across the Middle East. He discusses some of his compelling work from the past year that saw him in Gaza, Egypt and Syria, among other places.
Tuesday 13 November 2012 - Behind the image
AFP Photo/Javier Manzano
Fighting for Aleppo, inch-by-inch
AFP photographer Javier Manzano, embedded with Syrian rebels in the embattled city of Aleppo, describes how rebel and regime combatants travel -- sometimes for entire city blocks -- beyond the gaze of enemy snipers by burrowing their way through contiguous walls. But when those "walls", as above, are no more than corrugated tin, they offer scant protection against flying shrapnel and large caliber rounds.
Monday 12 November 2012 - Eye witness
"I met Abu Ibrahim by chance," said AFP correspondent Jennie Matthew, recalling a rebel fighter she encountered while reporting on the civil war in Syria that has claimed an estimated 40,000 lives over the last year and a half. "Four days later he was dead." Here Mathews, who is still covering the conflict on the ground, remembers the former policeman who decided that it was worth risking his life to help end the regime of President Bashar al-Assad. (AFP Photo/Philippe Desmazes)
Monday 29 October 2012 - Behind the image
AFP Photo / Javier Manzano
Deadly sprint in sniper alley
This man was crossing a street in Aleppo when, from high up in a building, a sniper with Bashar al-Assad's army shot him in the shoulder. The man's injury did not appear life-threatening, but running from the spot where he fell risked drawing more fire from the hidden shooter. If he stayed, he risked bleeding slowly to death. With the sniper looking on from his lair, it was impossible to rescue the man without attracting angry bursts of gunfire.
Friday 26 October 2012 - Eye witness
Dodging bullets, tending to the wounded, even counting the dead have become part of daily routine in Syria's second city Aleppo, where rebels are fighting the blood-stained regime of President Bashar al-Assad.Indeed, the violence seemed less remarkable to many residents than the 30-minute thunderstorm that recently swamped streets and snarled traffic on the eve of the religious festival of Eid al-Adha, reports AFP correspondent Jennie Matthew. The downpour also "exposed the limits of rebel control, and my own ingenuity," she writes (AFP Photo/Philippe Desmazes).
Monday 22 October 2012 - Behind the image
AFP Photo/Patrick Baz
Beirut bombing: déjà vu all over again
"Peace did not come easily to my hometown of Beirut, so I should not have been surprised at how quickly the bomb blast transformed a calm weekend there into a vortex of anger and chaos," reports reports Patrick Baz, the head of AFP's photo services for the Middle East and North Africa. "It also threw me back to the turmoil of my childhood in the 1980s." Patrick was only minutes away when the explosion struck Friday, killing Lebanon's top security chief, General Wissam al-Hassan, and two others. Here he describes how he and his 16-year old daughter arrived on the scene.
Tuesday 16 October 2012 - Behind the image
AFP Photo/Aris Messinis
The fall of Kadhafi, a story told in pictures
Athens-based AFP photographer Aris Messinis has covered the on-going social crisis in his native Greece since protests there turned violent in 2010. But he has demonstrated his knack for getting good shots under pressure in other hotspots too. His coverage last year of the end-game battle in Syrte, Libya – which pitted a cornered Moamer Kadhafi against the rebel National Liberation Army that had encircled him – earned him the top prize last weekend at the Bayeux-Calvados competition for war correspondents.
Tuesday 9 October 2012 - Behind the image
AFP Photo / Miguel Medina
Up close and personal with the Syrian rebels
An injured Syrian rebel fighter is dragged to safety as regime forces shower the area with bullets and mortar bombs. Miguel Medina, who took this photo on September 27 in Aleppo's Izaa district, is one of several AFP journalists to have covered the Syrian conflict. Here he recalls the 16 days he spent up-close and personal with the rebels.
Friday 3 August 2012 - Eye witness
The surest way to get the story is to be there, but gaining access to what is probably best described as a war zone -- Syria -- is getting harder and harder. That means AFP and other international media have to use secondary sources too. But competing claims by the country's autocratic regime and its increasingly emboldened opposition sometimes make if very difficult to tease out the truth. AFP special correspondent Iskandar Kat outlines the options for covering the conflict in Syria, and explains how fair-minded reporters go about their job. (AFP Photo/Ahmad Gharabli)
Friday 13 July 2012 - Debriefing
AFP came under intense attack from some French-based hactivists recently over an article on the Syrian government’s bombardment of opposition stronghold Homs that cited conversations with sources there identified by pseudonyms. The Internet-based activists charged that the news agency was endangering its sources by communicating with them via Skype, even if they were identified with fictitious monikers. AFP countered that it takes every precaution to protect its sources. Here’s a blow-by-blow of how the firestorm erupted and, finally, died down.
Friday 11 May 2012 - Behind the image
Syria: Pictures from a war zone
A victim from a bomb blast on an expressway in Syria on May 10 that left at least 55 dead is carried away by survivors who appear to be unharmed. This photograph from the official Syrian news agency SANA was immediately picked up by AFP and other international news agencies. The day before, another bomb blast hit a convoy of UN vehicles, one of which was carrying AFP photographer Louai Beshara. How do news organizations provide the world with images of a deadly conflict that is escalating day-by-day? Patrick Baz, head of AFP Photo for the Middle East, explains.
Tuesday 17 April 2012 - Eye witness
AFP terrorism expert Michel Moutot, recipient of France’s Prix Albert Londres in 1999 for his reporting from Kosovo, recently slipped into Syria from Turkey, along with photographer Frederic Lafargue, to get a firsthand view of the conflict there. One of the trickiest parts of the assignment was getting in and out of the strife-torn nation. (AFP Photo/Frederic Lafargue)