Molhem Barakat’s Syrian War Photos

Syrian teenage photojournalist Molhem Barakat's cameras, taken after he was found killed.
Syrian teenage photojournalist Molhem Barakat's cameras, taken after he was found killed.
Syrian teenage photojournalist Molhem Barakat’s cameras, taken after he was found killed.

Seven months after Reuters hired Syrian teenager Molhem Barakat as a freelance photographer, the teen was killed in a battle for control of Aleppo’s al-Kindi Hospital on December 20th, 2013.

Barakat’s story sparked an outcry over the news agency’s hiring practices in conflict zones. The Syrian teen, as well as the local stringers media outlets often employ, no doubt had clear but hazardous access to the war’s front lines and fighters that foreign journalists can’t get.

A selfie of Molhem Barakat that he posted on his Facebook page.
A selfie that Molhem Barakat posted on his Facebook page.

Reuters told Foreign Policy that it gave Barakat camera equipment, a ballistic helmet and body armor, but veteran war journalists have condemned Reuters for not taking enough precautions to protect the young Syrians they rely on for coverage.

Reuters claims that Barakat was 18-years-old when they hired him, but those who knew him say they are “sure” he wasn’t. Barakat was reportedly secretive about his age because he knew it could jeopardize his work. He is said to have used the money Reuters paid him to help support his family, who lived in poverty before the outbreak of the Syrian civil war and whose circumstances only worsened after.

His older brother, Mustafa, was a fighter in a local rebel force and friends say Barakat himself considered joining out of a desire to “serve the revolution”.

“The point is that, as with child soldiers, a guy his age will risk much more than an adult,” said Wolfgang Bauer, a German journalist covering the war in Syria who met Barakat in Aleppo. “If you’re 17 and need to feed your family by photography in a war area, that’s a very, very dangerous combination.”

Check out some of Barakat’s photos, which have been used in publications all over the world, below.

 

13-year-old Mohammad, a fighter in the Free Syrian Army, aims his weapon as he runs from snipers loyal to the Assad regime in Aleppo. (Reuters/Molhem Barakat)
13-year-old Mohammad, a fighter in the Free Syrian Army, aims his weapon as he runs from snipers loyal to the Assad regime in Aleppo. (Reuters/Molhem Barakat)

 

Free Syrian Army fighters carry a man wounded in clashes with Assad's fighters in Aleppo. (Reuters/Molhem Barakat)
Free Syrian Army fighters carry a man wounded in clashes with Assad’s fighters in Aleppo. (Reuters/Molhem Barakat)

 

A rebel fighter launches an attack against the Syrian army's 80th Brigade Base. (Reuters/Molhem Barakat)
A rebel fighter launches an attack against the Syrian army’s 80th Brigade Base. (Reuters/Molhem Barakat)

 

Aleppo residents attempt to put out a fire caused by shelling from Assad's forces. (Reuters/Molhem Barakat)
Aleppo residents attempt to put out a fire caused by shelling from Assad’s forces. (Reuters/Molhem Barakat)

 

Syrians attempting to cross the border to Turkey to escape the war. (Reuters/Molhem Barakat)
Syrians attempting to cross the border to Turkey to escape the war. (Reuters/Molhem Barakat)

 

Free Syrian Army fighters pull a body from the rubble of an attack by Assad forces. (Reuters/Molhem Barakat)
Free Syrian Army fighters pull a body from the rubble of an attack by Assad forces in Aleppo. (Reuters/Molhem Barakat)

 

A Free Syrian Army fighter rests in Aleppo. (Reuters/Molhem Barakat)
A Free Syrian Army fighter rests in Aleppo. (Reuters/Molhem Barakat)

 

Free Syrian Army fighters fire at an Assad regime helicopter in Aleppo. (Reuters/Molhem Barakat)
Free Syrian Army fighters fire at an Assad regime helicopter in Aleppo. (Reuters/Molhem Barakat)

 

Free Syrian Army fighters sit at their guard post in eastern Hama. (Reuters/Molhem Barakat)
Free Syrian Army fighters sit at their guard post in eastern Hama. (Reuters/Molhem Barakat)

 

Free Syrian Army fighters prepare to launch a bomb in the direction of forces loyal to the Assad regime in Aleppo. (Reuters/Molhem Barakat)
Free Syrian Army fighters prepare to launch a bomb in the direction of forces loyal to the Assad regime in Aleppo. (Reuters/Molhem Barakat)

 

A Free Syrian Army fighter takes a shower in Aleppo. (Reuters/Molhem Barakat)
A Free Syrian Army fighter takes a shower in Aleppo. (Reuters/Molhem Barakat)

 

Children play in old Aleppo. (Reuters/Molhem Barakat)
Children play in Old Aleppo. (Reuters/Molhem Barakat)

 

The remains of what activists say was an air strike by forces loyal to Assad's regime. (Reuters/Molhem Barakat)
The remains of what activists say was an air strike by forces loyal to Assad’s regime. (Reuters/Molhem Barakat)

 

A Free Syrian Army fighter looks through a window of a damaged house in Aleppo. (Reuters/Molhem Barakat)
A Free Syrian Army fighter looks through a window of a damaged house in Aleppo. (Reuters/Molhem Barakat)

 

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