Every year, groups of Shia men parade through the centre of Nabatiyeh, where Lebanon's major Ashura rituals take place. These rituals include the controversial bloodletting rite known as "tatbir". Although frowned upon by religious and political authorities, Shia communities still practice tatbir as a vital part of their communal act of mourning Imam Hussein, who was martyred at the pivotal Battle of Karbala in 680 AD. Text and photos by Maya Hautefeuille
The civil war in Syria, which has taken the lives of thousands since 2011, is becoming increasingly brutal. Valuable cultural sites are also being destroyed in the fighting. UNESCO has now provided reports on the damage.