World

Inside Syria's abandoned homes

Updated 4:05 PM ET, Wed January 15, 2014
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Italian photographer Matteo Rovella spent June in the Syrian city of Aleppo, capturing the impact of the country's brutal civil war on its population. He was particularly struck by the many destroyed and abandoned homes "where time seems to have stopped," he said. Courtesy Matteo Rovella
Rovella traveled into Syria via the Turkish border with the Free Syrian Army, the country's main opposition force. Courtesy Matteo Rovella
This picture shows the remains of a Free Syrian Army commander's home. "The living room was literally sliced in half," he said. Courtesy Matteo Rovella
Rovella said that to him, the images showed scores of lives in the process of being interrupted. "You are obligated to leave your things, your home, your life and go away, maybe to not come back," he said. Courtesy Matteo Rovella
Some of his images have an almost unbearable poignancy. "Almost all the families and the people I met lost their house because of bombing," he said. Courtesy Matteo Rovella
Rovella described the images as capturing the moment a person or family's life changed forever. "You can see inside them the tensions and fear, (the) moments of violence," he said. Courtesy Matteo Rovella
"You see such scenes, and you imagine the moment when people had to escape from the rooms," Rovella said. "I imagine the people who must run away or they will die." Courtesy Matteo Rovella
The eerie quality of the photos is striking, with mundane household items strewn amid the rubble of countless battles. Courtesy Matteo Rovella
The constant threat of attack or getting caught in crossfire between rebels and government forces meant Rovella had to work quickly. "I was walking through buildings and taking pictures very fast," he said. "But I tried to do it in an artistic way. " Courtesy Matteo Rovella
Despite the carnage, Rovella was moved by the resilience of those he encountered. "People are desperate," he said. "They are a mix of tears, sorrow and anger, and they wonder why no one ... is helping them. But they don't give up." Courtesy Matteo Rovella