A travelling photo exhibit in Toronto captures images taken by Syrians on the ground in their ongoing civil war at great risk to themselves.
Put together by a group of Syrian ex-patriates who oppose the current regime, the exhibit captures the courage and hope of those involved in the protests and the fighting.
Many of the images are captured on cellphones – which are easily hidden from government troops.
"The resources these photographers have are very limited. They don't have access to professional photography equipment. So they use whatever they had," said volunteer curator Sahel Zreik.
One striking photo shows a school near Damascus ripped apart by shelling with its green chalkboard blown away and tables and chairs strewn about.
The 20-year-old photographer worked with the Red Cross and was killed by a sniper while tending to a wounded civilian, Zreik said.
With journalists not allowed to enter Syria, there is risk in taking photos and in getting them out of the country.
Syrian Expatriates Organization, the group that is sponsoring the exhibit Lenses of Freedom, wants the international community to see the impact of the conflict on ordinary Syrians and has included several moving images of children amid the chaos. They've also included shots of delicate blooms of jasmine that survive in the cities.
"Jasmine is everywhere in Damascus. It symbolizes hope amidst the destruction." Zreik says.
The exhibit runs until Dec. 23 at Beit Zatoun in Toronto.