Photo Essay: The morning market in Ras al-Ain

The market in downtown Ras al-Ain comes to life each morning at 6am. Vegetable and fruit vendors open their stalls, piling tables high with lemons, cabbages, tomatoes and onions. Women arrive from nearby villages with milk, cream and fresh yogurt. Shoppers weave through the streets, inspecting produce and greeting their neighbors.

Ras al-Ain, located just south of Turkey’s border with northeastern Syria’s Hasakah province, is an ancient town. The area has been inhabited continuously for the past 10,000 years.

Most of Ras al-Ain’s 50,000 residents are Kurds and Arabs, but there are also Armenians, Chechens and Assyrians.

Local Kurdish fighters took control of Ras al-Ain in July 2013 after a months-long battle with Syrian rebel forces, who had seized it the Assad regime in late 2012.

Today, Ras al-Ain is part of Jazirah Canton, the easternmost section of the territories controlled by the Kurdish-led Self-Administration. A relatively stable town, Ras al-Ain and its surrounding villages now host displaced people from Raqqa, Deir e-Zor, Aleppo and other Syrian provinces.

This week, Syria Direct’s Abdulhalim Suleiman visited Ras al-Ain’s central, al-Alaf Circle morning market to capture a glimpse of day-to-day life in the town.

This photo essay is part of Syria Direct's month-long coverage of northern, Kurdish-held Syria in partnership with the Konrad Adenauer Foundation and reporters on the ground in Syria. Read our primer here.


Maria Nelson

Maria Nelson was a 2014-2015 fellow at the Center for Arabic Study Abroad program (CASA I) in Amman, Jordan. She holds a BA in Near Eastern Studies from Princeton University, with a certificate in Arabic Language and Culture.