/ 2017 / Press / Feature Story

City Beyond Refuge

  • Prize
    Silver in Press/Feature Story
  • Photographer
    Betsy Joles
  • Website
    http://betsyjoles.com
  • Instagram
    @betsyjoles

Syria’s ongoing civil war has caused one of the biggest migration
movements in modern history. An estimated 6 million of Syria’s
pre-war population is seeking refuge around the world. Turkey
hosts nearly 3 million Syrians, with over 500,000 in Istanbul alone.

Refugee is a sour word. In the West, there are preconceptions: sad
eyed children and overflowing inflatable boats. Images of refugees
suffering make the pain of war palpable but don’t hint at a future
for those involved. There’s a long term reality for Syrians after
crisis.

Assimilation offers an often less graphic set of challenges:
immobility, frustration and uncertainty. Freedom for Syrians is not
only about limits on movement but continued restrictions on a
chance at normality.

Amid challenges, there are triumphs. Creativity and innovation
flourish as Syrian traditions take root.The story for refugees is
multi-faceted and ever-changing and Istanbul is a microcosm of
life beyond refuge.

I'm an independent journalist based in Beijing, China following stints in Istanbul, Beirut, and Kuala Lumpur. My work focuses on the human side of geopolitics and the aftermath of conflict in the Middle East and East Asia. My long term project Beyond Refuge, which follows the Syrian diaspora across continents, has received recognition from PDN, The Marilyn Stafford FotoReportage Award, and Prix de la Photographie (PX3). I'm a 2019 grantee of the International Women's Media Foundation and a stringer for Getty Images in China.