Tag Archives: war photos

The Syrian Civil War: Photographs by Alessio Romenzi

The forces of President Bashar Assad have been relentless. They have continued to pound the predominantly Sunni enclave of Bab Amr in the city of Homs. They have struck at the rebellious town of Zabadani near the Lebanese border. Damascus is believed to be planting landmines near the Lebanese and Turkish borders even as the regime masses more troops nearby to deal with insurrectionists in the Idlib region in the northwest of the country. Meanwhile, in al-Qsair, a town south of Homs, government marksmen continued to take their toll. Says Alessio Romenzi, a photographer on assignment in the area for TIME: “The snipers do not sleep.”

Romenzi continues to document the work of the Free Syrian Army, a loose franchise of militias who are trying to coordinate their disparate campaigns against the Bashar government. Slowly, they are gathering weapons—though the increased demand for guns has kicked up the prices of Kalashnikovs. TIME’s Rania Abouzeid spent a day with FSA sympathizers trying to manufacture improvised explosive devices (IEDs) to use against Damascus’ forces. Other FSA cells have already started using their own strung together versions of IEDs. The targets may include military trucks which will then be used to block roads to impede government supply lines. But most of all, they hope the IEDs will stop Assad’s tanks, which have been used not only to blast rebel emplacements but also reportedly to crush the regime’s opponents—physically.

More photographs from Syria by Alessio Romenzi can be seen here

Read more about the situation in Syria in the magazine: Syria’s Clashing Armies

The Art of War: Honoring the Fallen for a Lifetime

America’s troops too often come home from war only to remain a step apart from the rest of the nation. The chasm between the military and civilian populations has never been greater. It’s simple math: Less than one percent of Americans now serve in the military, compared with 12 percent during World War II. So after a decade of unrelenting war, with some soldiers and Marines serving four or more combat tours, many Americans still don’t know a single soldier, sailor or airman.

Veterans will tell you that one of the most jarring experiences of their service is the sudden immersion back into a society seemingly unaware that there are any wars going on at all. While they fought, their country went about its business. So they must find their own ways to acknowledge their experiences. A common ritual is the commemorative tattoo. Troops honor fallen buddies, venerate their units, reiterate war mottos, engrave themselves with religious prose, or dream up art that reflects experiences they might not talk about.

Since 1992, Capitol Tattoo has been inking the bodies of returning soldiers in a storefront shop on Georgia Avenue in Silver Spring, Md., just north of Walter Reed Army Medical Center, the massive Army hospital that is in the process of closing. “They are our family,” says owner Al Herman, of the soldiers who come in for artwork, or just to hang out.

On one day this summer, Herman opened his door to photographer Peter Hapak. The veteran clients rolled up their sleeves, stripped off their shirts, and revealed their scars, hoping that the resulting images would help bridge the chasm of understanding.

Mark Benjamin is an investigative reporter based in Washington, and a contributer to TIME, as well as TIME.com’s military intelligence blog Battleland. You can follow him on Twitter at MarkMBenjamin

MORE: Read Mark Benjamin’s magazine story, “The Art of War,” from this week’s issue of TIME [available to subscribers here].