The Battle for Marawi City by Jes Azar 

1 – 10 November 2019

Introduction: When ISIS forces significantly lost the battle in the Middle east, they made a global call to all who wish to join them as they brought their fight to southeast Asia. 

For them, the Philippines, with a history of decades of Islamic separatist wars, extreme poverty, and massive corruption, was a fertile ground. 

Marawi city saw the longest and most brutal urban warfare in Philippines modern history on May 23, 2017.  Hundreds of militants from the combined forces of the Maute group, the Abu Sayyaf, and other foreign fighters who earlier pledged their support to ISIS waved the black flag over Marawi city, the country’s largest Islamic city. A siege that lasted five months left the city in ruins, killed more than a thousand, and displaced hundreds of thousands. 

The collection of photos here is an edit from the thousands of photos taken from the five-month coverage. Mainly taken for Getty Images and The New York Times. 


Jes Aznar

ISIS 세력이 중동 전투에서 참패했을 때, 이들은 전투를 남부 아시아로 이동하려는 자신들과 세력을 함께하자고 국제적으로 요청을 보냈다. 수십 년간의 이슬람 분단 전쟁, 극심한 빈곤, 심각한 부패로 몸살을 앓던 필리핀은 최적의 장소였다.

2017년 5월 23일, 필리핀 근대사 동안 가장 길고 잔혹한 전쟁이 마라위에서 발발했다. Maute 조직, 아부 사야프, 그리고 이전부터 ISIS를 지지해왔던 다른 해외 전투 집단들이 협동했고, 수백 명의 무장한 군인들이 필리핀의 최대 이슬람 도시인 마라위에서 검은 깃발을 흔들었다. 5개월간 진행된 도심 포위 작전으로 도시는 폐허가 되고, 1천 명이 넘는 사람들이 사망했으며 수십만이 집을 잃었다.

전시된 사진 컬렉션은 5개월 동안 찍었던 수천 장의 사진의 편집본이다. 대부분 게티이미지와 뉴욕타임스지를 위해 찍었다.


About the Artist: Jes Aznar is a full time photographer, both as documentary and photojournalist, currently based in Manila, focusing on Asia and the Pacific. He has exhibited in China, Southeast Asia, Europe and The U.S. and has won numerous awards including the prestigious SOPA award for best in photojournalism in his coverage of the aftermath of typhoon Haiyan for The New York Times.

After quitting his lucrative job in the advertising industry as an art director, he decisively changed his career to hold the camera and never looked back. His passion for documentary led him to Hacienda Luisita in Central Philippines to document the brewing workers and peasant uprising inside the plantation that resulted in the infamous massacre in 2004. He has then started to document social issues from labor and peasants welfare to human conditions and human rights.

After working for Agence France-Presse, he dedicated more than three years of his life to document Mindanao in the Philippines in which he was nearly killed in the wake of the Ampatuan Massacre where 58 people were assassinated, including 37 journalists, in one singe day.

Jes is currently contributing primarily to The New York Times and Getty Images. Nearly two years during the onslaught of the Philippine government’s brutal campaign against drugs, he started @everydayimpunity on instagram as a platform where we can visually see the consequences of impunity in our society. With a current focus on the Philippines where a deeply-flawed system perpetuates impunity at an alarming rate, highlighted in the ongoing government campaign against drugs where the perpetrators act as the sole judge, jury, and executioner.

Jes took up Advertising at the University of Santo Tomas, Photojournalism at the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung-Ateneo de Manila College for Journalism, and Conflict Sensitive Journalism at the the Deutsche Welle Akademie in Berlin, Germany.

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