Madeline Edwards worked with Syria Direct until 2019 and previously reported for the Daily Star newspaper in Beirut. She focused on under-reported displaced communities, particularly in Jordan and the Rukban camp.
The rumors were unconfirmed: two men who had returned to Syrian government territory from Rukban camp via a Russian-backed “humanitarian corridor” were reportedly shot dead by security personnel over the weekend, after attempting to escape a government holding center in Homs province.
The photos are scarce. In one, a dozen or so women, young children and elderly men bite down on sandwiches as they crowd the inside of a bus. One of the passengers wears a red vest bearing the logo of the Syrian government’s Red Crescent organization, also known as SARC.
Just downhill from the occupied Syrian villages of Majdal Shams and Masaada, there is a small valley filled with plots of cherry and apple trees. A handful of the orchards reach upwards along the terraced hills that outline the Marj Yaafouri valley, overlooking the trees and a Druze shrine down below.
Up one of the hillside streets that winds through Majdal Shams is a run-down tailor shop hidden among the limestone apartment buildings. There are no signs of Israeli tourists on this street, in a quiet residential corner of town just steps from a fenced-off border zone separating Israeli-occupied territory from a ceasefire line demarcating areas controlled by the Syrian government.
In the early days, there was precious little equipment. Handheld camcorders, just a few props. Reflective headlights removed from cars served as light reflectors. And filming would usually take place on the bombed-out East Aleppo streets outside.