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An Agence France-Presse freelancer on Monday won the Pulitzer Prize for feature photography for a stunning image of Syrian rebel fighters holed up in a sniper's nest.
The photo, taken last October by Javier Manzano in Syria's largest city Aleppo, was hailed by the prize committee as "extraordinary."
It shows two men gripping assault rifles, one of them stuck out of a hole in the nest, as light beams at different angles through more than a dozen bullet and shrapnel holes in a corrugated tin wall behind them.
Between them and the wall lie large sacks, and there is Arabic writing on the wall in front of the fighters. Besides the slender shafts of light, the rebels' lair is otherwise largely dark.
"The dust from more than one hundred days of shelling, bombing and firefights hung in the air," reads the caption on the photo as it appears on the Pulitzer site.
Manzano was born in Mexico and is based in Istanbul, Turkey. He submitted to photo to the Pulitzer jury himself.
He was not immediately reachable for comment Monday on winning one of the biggest honors in the US world of news and letters.
Manzano, who left for the United States at the age of 18, has focused much of his work on issues involving the US-Mexican border, the Pulitzer website said.
He began his career in the newspaper industry as a photo and videojournalist, and later got into television and electronic media.
He has been a freelancer covering the drug war in Mexico and the wars in Afghanistan and Syria since his last employer, The Rocky Mountain News, shut down in 2009, the site said.
In other Pulitzer prizes announced on Monday, the award for international reporting went to David Barboza of the New York Times for what the jury called his "striking exposure" of corruption at high levels of the Chinese government, including vast wealth amassed by relatives of former prime minister Wen Jiabao.
The New York Times won a total of four prizes. Other awards were for investigative reporting, explanatory reporting and feature writing.
The prize for breaking news reporting went to the staff of the Denver Post for its coverage of a mass shooting last year at a movie theater in Colorado that left 12 people dead and 58 wounded at the opening of a Batman movie.
The fiction award went to "The Orphan Master's Son" by Adam Johnson, which the jury praised as "an exquisitely crafted novel that carries the reader on an adventuresome journey into the depths of totalitarian North Korea and into the most intimate spaces of the human heart."