The Syrian civil war, now in its third year, began when a group of young people spray painted anti-regime graffiti on the walls of their school. Their arrest, detention and torture let to protests and a violent crackdown by the forces of Syrian President Bashar Assad.
The series of actions and reactions has led to the deaths of an estimated 115,000 Syrians and caused two million more to flee the country. More than 500,000 of these refugees have headed south to neighboring Jordan. Most Jordan-bound refugees pass through the Zaatari camp, whose current population of 113,000 makes it the second largest refugee camp in the world. The rest have spread throughout Jordan, settling in for what they believe to be a long separation from their homes and communities as they wait out a war with no end in sight.
Benjamin Rasmussen is a freelance photographer based in Denver, Colorado.
He spent his childhood with an indigenous people group on an island in the southern Philippines, his university years with evangelicals in a small town in northern Arkansas, and a year with the descendants of Vikings in the Faroe Islands, a nation of 45,000 residents in the middle of the North Atlantic.
In 2014, Benjamin was chosen as one of PDNâ€™s 30 New and Emerging Photographers to Watch. His work has been selected for the American Photography 26, 28 and 30 Annuals, shortlisted for the Leica Oskar Barnac Award, and awarded in the 2010 POYi awards. He has been chosen as one of Photolucidaâ€™s 2010 Critical Mass Top 50 and included in the Magenta Foundation’s Flash Forward – Emerging Photographers 2011 and 2012 lists.