Until 28th May

IWM North

Special Exhibitions Gallery

Free event

Gain an understanding of the origins, escalations and human impact of the ongoing Syria conflict in Syria: A Conflict Explored, a season of exhibitions and events — part of our Conflict Now programming strand.

Sergey Ponomarev: A Lens on Syria

A cyclist watches a fire caused by the explosion of a mortar shell during fighting between Government and Opposition forces near the Old City of Damascus.
© Sergey Ponomarev Damascus, Syria, 24 August 2013 Assad’s Syria (2013-2014)

Sergey Ponomarev: A Lens on Syria

An extensive series of photographs by award-winning Russian documentary photographer Sergey Ponomarev. The exhibition explores the human consequences of the Syria conflict and its connection to the European refugee crisis of 2015.

Sergey Ponomarev: A Lens on Syria features more than 60 photographs selected from two bodies of work by Ponomarev and is presented in two sections, Assad's Syria and The Exodus. Assad’s Syria offers a rare insight into what life was really like for people living in Government-controlled areas of Syria in 2013-2014. The Exodus captures the determination, endurance and suffering of people from Syria and elsewhere who sought asylum and a better life in Europe in 2015-2016.

Syria: Story of a Conflict

Visitor watching the installation film experience inside Syria: Story of a Conflict exhibition
© IWM Visitor watching the installation film experience inside the Syria: Story of a Conflict exhibition

Syria: Story of a Conflict

Get a balanced and objective introduction to the complex conflict in Syria, which began in 2011. This intimate display explores the origins, escalations and impact of the Syria conflict through a collection of objects, personal stories and an installation film experience, all considering how a country, once known for its relative stability, has been shattered by conflict. The conflict is very much a ‘war of narratives’ – all sides compete to tell their version of what is happening and accurate information is hard to come by. 

The ongoing conflict has already lasted longer than the Second World War. As a result, nearly half a million people have been killed. More than eleven million – half the pre-war population – have been forced from their homes and much of the country lies in ruins. This exhibition tells personal stories of those Syrians from all walks of life who have been impacted by the conflict.


A visitor to IWM North taking part in the I Swear to Tell the Truth experience.
I Swear to Tell the Truth
A thought-provoking audio-visual experience inviting you to inspect how social and information networks have affected your perception of the world we live in, and your place in it.

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Homeless children play in the ruins of Homs after Opposition forces left the area. During the siege, children were left to fend for themselves when their parents went missing or were caught on the wrong side of newly established checkpoints.
© Sergey Ponomarev for the New York Times Homs, Syria, 14 June 2014 Assad’s Syria (2013-2014)
An election campaign poster for President Bashar al-Assad displayed on a ruined shopping mall in the Khalidiya district of Homs, shortly after Government forces regained control of the area. Built just before the war, the mall had never opened for business.
© Sergey Ponomarev for the New York Times Homs, Syria, 15 June 2014 Assad’s Syria (2013-2014)