The woman documenting the 'Humans of Damascus'

Rania Kataf, a 31-year-old Damascus resident, started the "Humans of Damascus" Facebook page a couple of months ago.

Story highlights

  • Inspired by "Humans of New York," photographer Rania Kataf set up "Humans of Damascus"
  • The series showcases a city mostly removed from the violence ravaging other parts of Syria

(CNN)In Syria, a war is flattening eastern Aleppo. There are destroyed minarets, a burnt down 14th century souq, a number of perished neighborhoods and thousands of casualties.

In Syria, there are also bustling alleyways in the old neighborhoods of Damascus, a musician playing the oud on the pavement and, nearby, an artisan ornamenting a carved wooden table with ivory. It's this side of the country that 31-year-old Damascus resident Rania Kataf wants to show to the world.
    She strolls with her camera in the streets of the Syrian capital, trying to document every inch of her city and the faces of the people who give it so much character.
    Maamoun Hussein Al Masri, photographed by Humans of Damascus, owns a small shop near the famous Al Nofara Cafe and sells wooden ouds.
    Inspired by the "Humans of New York" Facebook page, she set up "Humans of Damascus" to showcase a city mostly removed from the violence ravaging other parts of the country.
    Every day, she posts portraits of residents in the market and adds new and old pictures of the Damascenes' favorite shops and spots. She says it's one way of reminding people of the city's rich history and culture.
    "I stay away from anything negative. I have a responsibility towards the people of Damascus. Many of them are not appreciated. The artisans, for example, are seen as some wooden spoon makers inside the country and potential refugees outside the country," she told CNN over Skype.
    Ali Othman, a weaver photographed by Humans of Damascus, reconstructs carpets in the city.
    Her favorite portrait is that of Abu Jassem Kabtoul, who she says is over a century old.
    "This man lived for more than 100 years in Damascus and knows it probably more than all of us. He surely knows what are the solutions to all our problems," she said.
    Abu Jassem Kabtoul is more than 100 years old, according to Rania Kataf.