The true horror of a bombing in two images

Photographer Bassam Khabieh was recently in Damascus, Syria, to document the relief efforts of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent.

When he arrived, the atmosphere around the relief convoy was one of joy and laughter. Children were gathered around, smiling as they obtained much-needed medical aid and supplies.

It took only a split second for everything to change.

A shell landed near the convoy and the scene turned to terror. A volunteer was killed and numerous children were injured. Many started to scream and cry.

Khablieh captured two photos — both of 4-year-old Ghazal — before and after the bombing. The difference is haunting.

Before the shell lands:

Ghazal syria bombing kids

Bassam Khabieh/Reuters

And after:

Ghazal syria bombing kids

Bassam Khabieh/Reuters

Here’s how Khablieh described it to Reuters:

In this particular photograph, it was the first time I had seen how children’s innocent laughter could turn into screams, fear and tears. Seconds before the strike, the children were looking at me happily, getting ready for a picture. It was a very sad moment when I put my eye to the viewfinder to take pictures of laughing children; then when I looked back after taking the picture, I saw the same children crying, distraught.

It takes only a few seconds for life to turn to ashes and blood.

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