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War In Raqqa: Rhetoric Versus Reality

25 April - 30 May
Organized by: Amnesty International
Venue: Architectural Association, AA Gallery
36 Bedford Square

How the "most precise air campaign in history" left Raqqa, Syria, the most destroyed city in modern times.


The US-led Coalition’s military operation in Raqqa, Syria, including air bombardments by UK forces, between June and October 2017 was among the most destructive in modern warfare.


Thousands of air and artillery strikes were launched over a four-month period, killing hundreds of civilians and rendering large parts of the city uninhabitable. Amnesty International has been investigating the Raqqa offensive for over 18 months, including during multiple site visits to the destroyed city. Presented here are example of the impact of the military campaign on the people and communities of Raqqa.


In this exhibition, photographs of Raqqa provide a glimpse into life in the devastated city and how returning residents are trying to rebuild their lives and livelihoods in the midst of the ruins. Dashcam footage filmed by Amnesty’s investigators travels through the city where you will meet survivors, their families, and their stories. Surveys of the wreckage can be explored through immersive technologies, and audiences will get a first look of Amnesty International’s new interactive web-based platform detailing the findings of the investigation.


“On the ground in Raqqa we witnessed a level of destruction not comparable to anything we’ve seen in decades of covering the impact of wars.” Donatella Rovera, Senior Crisis Response Advisor, Amnesty International.


Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning global movement of more than 7 million people who campaign for a world where human rights are enjoyed by all. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.


Investigator: Donatella RoveraPhotography: Donatella Rovera and Andrea DiCenzo (Panos).Video: Donatella Rovera and Jessica KellyOpen Source Investigation: Milena MarinInstallation Designer, “Journey Through Raqqa”: Francesco MerlettiExhibition Curator: Natalie KaneExhibition Producer: Marion LagedamontContributions by: Livia Saccardi, Elena Sergi, Conor Fortune, Rossalyn Warren, Richard Burton, Benjamin Walsby, Tirana Hassan, Ben Fogarty and the Holoscribe team.Display furniture: Commissioned By YouAV Hire: Blue Hire


Image Caption: Women walking in rubble-strewn street past destroyed buildings in Raqqa, Syria, February 2018Credit: © Amnesty International