Skip to navigationSkip to content

A boy who hasn’t opened his mouth in three years, and other photos of the real cost of Syria’s war

Yuri Kozyrev/Noor for MSF
The Domiz camp in Iraqi Kurdistan is home to some 60,000 refugees from Syria.
By Gideon Lichfield
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

The conflict in Syria has scattered refugees literally to the four winds. Some 2.8 million Syrians have fled to Lebanon (to the west), Iraq (east), Jordan (south), and Turkey (north) to escape the fighting, on top of 6.5 million people who have left their homes but stayed within Syria. Many of the refugees, and the wounded, are children.

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF, a.k.a. Doctors Without Borders) treats people at refugee camps and makeshift clinics both inside Syria and in the neighboring countries. Late last year it sent four photographers to document a single day in the lives of the refugees, and the doctors and nurses who care for them, many of whom are refugees themselves. We’ve excerpted some of the often heartbreaking photographs here; many more, as well as videos and other materials, can be found at MSF’s site, Reach of War.

Ton Koene for MSF
Rukaya, 14, lost both legs in a bombing that also killed her mother, is wheeled in for her seventh surgery at Ramtha.
Ton Koene for MSF
A young man who lost a leg after being shot. “When I start walking on my feet, I’ll go back to Syria,” he says. “Where else would I be?”
A Syrian girl who lost a leg when a shell landed nearby, at Ramtha hospital in Jordan.
Kate Brooks/Redux for MSF
Maria, 8, from Sana,was injured when she was 3 months old. Her cradle caught on fire.
Ton Koene for MSF
Dr Ben Gupta plays chess with Malik, 14, who lost a leg when a bomb fell on a wedding party.
Kate Brooks/Redux for MSF
Dr Ashraf al-Bustani tends to an Iraqi boy who has been unable to open his mouth for three years, after falling from a roof during a bombing and destroying his jaw.
Yuri Kozyrev/Noor for MSF
The waiting area at Domiz camp in Iraqi Kurdistan, where some 60,000 refugees from Syria are being housed in tents.
Yuri Kozyrev/Noor for MSF
Children at Domiz camp make their own entertainment.
Moises Saman/Magnum for MSF
An abandoned prison near Majdal Anjar, in Lebanon, has become a home for Syrian refugees like this boy.

📬 Kick off each morning with coffee and the Daily Brief (BYO coffee).

By providing your email, you agree to the Quartz Privacy Policy.