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Syria, 2021

In the village of Al-Hol, adjacent to the eponymous camp where thousands of families linked to the Islamic State group are being held, the children's section of the local cemetery is expanding at an alarming rate.

Sons and daughters of jihadists, both local and foreign, now rest under the care of Ahmed Salem Shihab, a gravedigger there for 25 years. "I feel grief for all of them,” he says. “And I bury them as if they were my own children.”

The Kurdish-run detention camp houses 62,000 individuals of some 60 different nationalities, two-thirds of whom are children struggling to survive because of the lack of care, diseases or violence.

371 minors died there in 2019 and 157 in 2020: an average of five deaths per week.

As human rights advocates urge foreign governments to do more to repatriate their citizens, according our my researches, at least 11 European children died in Syrian camps, including fi ve Belgians, 3 Dutches or one British.


Report with Wilson Fache, published in Liberation (FR), Newsweek Japan, and nominated for the Visa D'Or of the Daily Press 2021, Prix Bayeux 2021 (written category). Exhibited in November 2021 at Rencontres Photos du 10e Arrondissement, and National Museum of Artillery (Torino, Italy)

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