Shortlist, The Last Stronghold by Eddy Van Wessel
"Baghuz, Syria, March 2019. A small desert border town has become the last stronghold of ISIS. Whatever had been the dream of a Caliphate state is now reduced to a surrounded town where hardcore ISIS fighters and their families have dug themselves in, defiant against a coalition of US and SDF (Syrian Kurds and Arab) forces. The remaining ISIS families in town find themselves caught between the front lines, leaving few options for escape. Only after weeks of intense fighting and shelling will a large number of these families, and wounded fighters, flee Baghuz. It’s an exodus. Having previously followed the steps of the ISIS Caliphate in Iraq, I travelled to Syria for a month. This last chapter was essential for me in order to try and understand what a human is capable of in every aspect. I used both a custom-made panoramic camera and a full-frame camera for the series."