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AP PHOTOS: Editors’ picks for 2018 from the Middle East

By MAYA ALLERUZZODecember 18, 2018
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Muslim women walk in the courtyard of the 7th century Umayyad Mosque in Damascus, Syria, Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2018. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)
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Muslim women walk in the courtyard of the 7th century Umayyad Mosque in Damascus, Syria, Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2018. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

CAIRO (AP) — In 2018, Associated Press photographers in the Middle East, Afghanistan and Pakistan captured searing images from relentless armed conflicts, but they also found moments of levity and offered a glimpse into daily life in a constantly changing region.

In Yemen, they captured haunting images of emaciated children, the victims of a devastating civil war that has pushed the Arab world’s poorest country to the brink of famine. They photographed mothers who are starving themselves in order to feed their children, and families reduced to eating leaves from a local vine, boiled into a sour, acidic paste.

In the Gaza Strip, thousands of Palestinians took part in weekly demonstrations orchestrated by Hamas to protest against an Israeli and Egyptian blockade of the impoverished territory. Every week they gathered by the thousands at the heavily guarded frontier, burning tires and hurling rocks and firebombs at Israeli soldiers on the other side. Every week several were shot by Israeli snipers, and every week the protesters returned.

Thousands have been wounded by Israeli fire, with most struck in their lower limbs. AP photographer Felipe Dana took portraits of some of the wounded at a clinic in Gaza City.

On a lighter note, Israeli and Palestinian bodybuilders took part in competitions held on both sides of the frontier. At an event held in Tel Aviv, Jews and Arabs, men and women, and young and old competitors worked together ahead of the big show. At a similar competition held in Gaza City, Hamdi Wadi said he was determined to pursue the sport “despite the difficulties and tragic circumstances.”

In Cairo, AP photographer Nariman El-Mofty photographed giant billboards advertising luxury housing in newly built desert communities — signs that fail to conceal the worsening neglect and decay in the city of 20 million. The government is planning a vast new administrative capital, which could soon lead to an even greater exodus of Cairo’s well-heeled residents, raising questions about the city’s future.

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Follow Maya Alleruzzo on Twitter at www.twitter.com/mayaalleruzzo . Follow AP photographers and photo editors at www.twitter.com/AP/lists/ap-photographers

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