If you were fleeing your homeland, what's the one thing you would take? More than 1 million Syrians have been forced to ponder this question before making the dangerous flight to neighboring Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, and Iraq, or another country in the region.
In the first part of photographer Brian Sokol's ongoing, UNHCR-supported project, "The Most Important Thing," refugees fleeing from Sudan to South Sudan openly carried cooking pots, water containers, and other items to help sustain them on their journeys, which could sometimes last days or weeks. But those seeking sanctuary from the conflict in Syria typically act as if they are out for a family stroll or a Sunday drive as they make their way toward a border (the journey is often shorter than in Sudan), since they could be prevented from leaving the country if it became clear they were trying to flee. For that reason, Syrian refugees typically carry little more than keys, pieces of paper, phones, and bracelets -- items that can be worn or concealed in pockets or in the folds of garments. Some Syrians bring a symbol of their religious faith; others clutch a reminder of home or of happier times.
Above, Iman, 25, is pictured with her son Ahmed and daughter Aishia in Nizip refugee camp in Turkey. Iman decided to flee their home in Aleppo after months of conflict when she heard accounts of sexual harassment against women in the city. The journey to Turkey was full of danger -- Iman lost five relatives. The most important thing she was able to bring with her is the Quran she holds in this photograph. She says the Quran inspires a sense of protection. "As long as I have it with me," she says, "I'm connected to God."