the zone of unlaw
Ain al-Hilweh, Lebanon’s largest Palestinian refugee camp, lies within guarded walls near the southern city of Sidon. Over 70,000 inhabitants live within approximately one square mile. It's residents weather political instability, violence, massive unemployment, and bleak prospects for the future of their children.
The area is popularly called the “zone of unlaw,” stemming from restrictions on the Lebanese Army to enter the camp. Militant factions, new and old, clash in defense of the streets they control. Assassinations and gun battles erupt regularly.
Although militants occasionally engage the Army’s checkpoint, most aggression is directed inward. Caught in a cycle of violence, militants approach their clashes with an air of professionalism. This is life for the armed in Ain al-Hilweh. The rest are caught in the crossfire.