Fleeing their homes, many Syrians left behind middle-class lives; most arrived with none of the mementos that stir memory. Fedaa was different. She brought things. Diaries. Drawings. A pillowcase that she’d used since childhood. An empty pack of her brother Mustafa’s Kent cigarettes.
How best to explain what Syrians have faced over the last four years?
Numbers tell part of it: More than 191,000 people have been killed since the outbreak of the civil war in March 2011, a third of them civilians, according to the United Nations' human rights office. An estimated 9 million have fled their homes.
Photographs offer frozen moments that hint at a larger story, such as those showing the wrapped bodies of Syrians killed in the Damascus suburbs in August 2013 by the nerve gas sarin.
But researchers say recall and storytelling work on the brain in unique ways.