In 2009 I visited Syria. I did not know what to expect of one of the Axis of Evil states but what I found was the most friendly people, an organised and flourishing society, with religious tolerance to the numerous different religions to be found, a place where history seeped out of the crevices. I don’t doubt that for some people Syria was a despicable state but on an every day level it was rich and fascinating. Now all that has gone, the hotel I stayed in Aleppo with the unpaid bill by Lawrence of Arabia on display, gone; the freedom to walk almost anywhere at any time of day or night, gone. The security to feel safe, gone. It makes me weep and these images from The Atlantic terrify me, what has happened to the people I met and became friends with, the people I drank tea with and watched Champions League football in sport cafes. The small bakeries on the streets, the vendors around the mosque in the centre of Damascus…..
While much of the world’s attention focuses on a possible war with North Korea, the war currently being fought in Syria grinds on. March of 2013 was a month of grim milestones in Syria. It marked two years since the start of hostilities; the number of war refugees passed one million; and it was was the bloodiest month to date, with more than 6,000 people killed. Neither the pro-Assad forces, nor the group of rebels opposing them have gained much ground recently, and little or no progress has been made by international agencies to halt the bloodshed. The following photographs come from across Syria, taken over the past six weeks, showing just some of the devastation in Aleppo, Deir al-Zor, Homs, Deraa, Idlib, and Damascus
Sami (center) speaks with his children in an underground Roman tomb which he uses with his family as shelter from Syrian government forces, at Jabal al-Zaweya, in Idlib province, on February 28, 2013. The ancient sites are built of thick stone that has already withstood centuries, and are often located in strategic locations overlooking towns and roads. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)
Damaged buildings in Jouret al-Shayah, Homs, Syria, on February 2, 2013. (Reuters/Yazen Homsy)
A Syrian woman sits on the ruins of her house, which was destroyed in an airstrike by government warplanes a few days earlier, killing 11 members of her family, in the neighborhood of Ansari, Aleppo, on February 6, 2013. (AP Photo/Abdullah al-Yassin)
A resident inspects the damages at an ancient Souk caused by what activists said was shelling by forces loyal to Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad in Deir al-Zor, on March 9, 2013. (Reuters/Khalil Ashawi
A boy takes a picture of his friend who gestures from the top of a damaged building in Deir al-Zor, on April 4, 2013.(Reuters/Khalil Ashawi)
People inspect damaged areas in Deir al-Zor, on March 3, 2013. (Reuters/Khalil Ashawi)
See all the images in this gallery here
It would be ridiculous to ‘like’ this. It is devastating. Beyond sad.