Our Limbo



"Psychologically, mentally, emotionally, it's on lockdown for all of us", Diana, 24 from Damascus, residing in Qatar.

A group of young Syria women, who grew up together, left to Beirut before the outbreak of the civil war to study in Lebanese universities. Their plan was always to return to Syria, to their families and find jobs.

As the civil war unfolded, their plans to return to their homeland faded. After they graduated, their tight group had been broken into fragments placed in different countries.


This story focuses on the psychological effects of losing your homeland, and the difficulty of adapting to a new country. "I don't deserve to cry when I have a roof over my head. There are people worse off than me, but I can't help it. I've lived there for 25 years", Souad, Diana's mother, from Damascus. 

They recognise their own privileges and realise they have better opportunities than other Syrians, therefore cannot complain, creating a psychological burden of not being to express themselves.

Using personal archives, a collaborative journal, interviews, videos, diary entries and photography, these are their stories.


This story was made possible with the support of Magnum Foundation, AFAC, and the Prince Claus Fund. So far, the project has been exhibited in New York, Amsterdam, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, and Florence. 

BEIRUT, LEBANON

23 year old Tala from Damascus' dried Jasmines from her home. "This war has lost a lot of who I am, I'm not used to being so dead inside. I close my eyes and wish this wasn't reality. That this was a movie"

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 DUBAI, UAE

Nadia, 23, from Damascus in her apartment- "I'm not really here, I go to work, come back, eat, go to sleep so I don't feel it as much"

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A video still from Tala's childhood home videos from Damascus, Syria

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 DOHA, QATAR, 

Diana, 24, from Damascus, Syria wears a necklace "lucky" which her mother gave her after a serious car accident she had in Beirut.

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 DUBAI, UAE

Nadia, 23, from Damascus with her prayer mat, which was one of the few precious items with her in Dubai from Syria- "I've had it since I was five, it was the one I was taught to pray on, which I still use today"

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DUBAI, UAE

Nadia, 23, from Damascus in her apartment- "I'm not really here, I go to work, come back, eat, go to sleep so I don't feel it as much"

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 BEIRUT, LEBANON

Sima's tattoo on her torso in Arabic calligraphy, it says, "How noble is the sad heart that is allowed by his sadness to sing and dance along with the joyous hearts".

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 BEIRUT, LEBANON

Sima, from Damascus celebrates her birthday.

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BEIRUT, LEBANON

Sima, from Damascus dries her face at her home.

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BEIRUT, LEBANON Tala on the rooftop of a tattoo artist

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DUBAI, UAE Since the conflict in Syria began, most of the ladies have begun to smoke very heavily 


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BEIRUT, LEBANON

Diana's mother Souad, a mother of three, from Damascus, sits in her art studio surrounded by her paintings, since the war began in Syria her work has gotten progressively darker 
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A photograph of Nina, 29, from Damascus, Syria. Nina, who has Downs Syndrome, who is Diana's sister won many swimming medals including a Golden meal freestyle special Olympics winner in Athens. Her mother Souad, says she is having trouble adapting to a new life in Beirut, leaving her childhood friends, and activities in Damascus


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DOHA, QATAR

Diana, 24, from Damascus, Syria holds a ring she made for her fiance, she says, "He is Syria. we met in high school in Damascus, and now we are getting married in the summer. But not in Syria. We do not even know where we will be in summer. It kills me. We always wanted our children to be raised where we were and even go to the same school that brought our hearts together. There's no place like home. We now find each other home."

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 DOHA, QATAR

A pink coloured pigeon flies over buildings 

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 BEIRUT, LEBANON

23 year old Tala from Damascus' holds one of her paintings she made in response to Syria's war in her bedroom. Although she went to university in Beirut, her plan was always to go back to Damascus and find work. "This war has lost a lot of who I am, I'm not used to being so dead inside. I close my eyes and wish this wasn't reality. That this was a movie"

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 BEIRUT, LEBANON

Diana and Souad's family photo album. The photo albums were the most precious objects she managed to take out of her home in Damascus, Syria.

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 BEIRUT, LEBANON

Souad hugs her daughter Diana as she arrives from Qatar into Beirut. Since the civil war in Syria began, Souad's family members have been placed into different countries due to work opportunities.

The text on the photo is handwritten by Souad herself. 

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BEIT MERY, LEBANON

Diana walks aruond the grounds of her wedding venue that she may be marrying in August 2015- at the Boustan Hotel.

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A video still from Tala's childhood home videos from Damascus, Syria

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JAL EL DIB, LEBANON

Tala looks over a view of Beirut just after she has a tattoo with the initials of her family on her back. Overwhelmed with work, dealing with a break-up, Tala felt like "a weight had been lifted, it was something I always wanted to do for me, I never used to put me first". 

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