AFP wins war reporting awards for Syria coverage

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Agence France-Presse won several prizes Saturday at the 20th Bayeux-Calvados awards for war correspondents, which this year was dominated by reporting of the Syrian conflict.

French daily Le Monde’s Jean-Philippe Remy won the top print award for his work on the frontline in Damascus, where he documented the use of chemical weapons.

Fabio Bucciarelli, a regular AFP contributor, received the Nikon Photo Award for “Battle to Death,” a series of striking images taken during fighting in the city of Aleppo in 2012.

The Italian photographer, an engineering graduate, has covered various conflicts including those in Sudan and Mali, as well as Syria.

Explaining his winning picture, the 32-year-old said: “The day I shot the awarded picture, the Syrian army just had attacked the Shaar district in Aleppo. The situation was completely crazy. It was total chaos, with shocked survivors and injured people rushing and shouting “Allah Akbar” everywhere.

“Every vehicle available was used to transport the wounded to the hospital: cars, taxis, and even vans, like the one in the picture. The hospital was, in fact, an incredibly small room stuffed with injured people, with floods of blood on the floor. It was the craziest day of my assignment in Syria.”

Also rewarded was AFP freelance photographer Javier Manzano, who won the public’s prize, for a series of pictures of Syrian rebels fighting in Aleppo last year.

One of his pictures of the rebels had previously earned him a Pulitzer Prize.

AFP’s Djilali Belaid won a second prize in the video category for a story on the defence by rebels of the Krak des Chevaliers crusader castle.

Away from Syria, the BBC’s Ben Anderson won a top TV award for his work in Afghanistan’s Helmand region.

Created in 1994, the Bayeux-Calvados awards recognize reporting on conflicts and their impact on civilians as well as stories covering the defense of freedom and democracy.

Almost 60 different entries were judged this year. The jury was headed by war photography legend James Nachtwey.