Years of violence in Syria’s last major opposition bastion has created a landscape of ruin, eerily lit in the early hours of yesterday by the Milky Way in the night sky.
Over the bombed-out town of Ariha in Idlib province, the stars looked like specks of dust shining over the town’s pulverised buildings.
Ten long-exposure pictures taken by an AFP photographer on an unusually clear night with no moon show the stark contrast between the grim devastation on the ground and the Milky Way. A Russian-backed government offensive between December and March ravaged Ariha and other parts of northwest Syria, displacing nearly a million people.
A truce reached on March 6 had largely reduced the fighting but Russia resumed air strikes this month for the first time in an alarming uptick.
Some 780,000 of the nearly 1mn displaced are estimated to remain in displacement, according to the United Nations.
Perched on a mountainous region in Idlib, Ariha is held by the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham alliance (HTS), led by Syria’s former Al Qaeda affiliate, and its rebel allies. It was home to almost 70,000 people before the regime’s latest offensive but it is now nearly deserted.
Its streets are dotted with the skeletons of buildings damaged by previous rounds of bombardment.
Barely any lights emanate from the ground, except the dim glow of mobile phones carried by passersby. Nearly half of Idlib’s population of 3mn has been displaced from other parts of Syria that have come under regime control.
The war in Syria has killed more than 380,000 people and displaced nearly half of the country’s pre-war population since it started in 2011. With the help of his Russian and Iran allies, President Bashar al-Assad has clawed back more than 70% of the country.
LEAVE A COMMENT Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*
Seven ships catch fire at Iran’s Bushehr port
Houthis say coalition air strikes kill 10 civilians
Seven ships catch fire at Iranian port
Moroccans join ‘informal economy’ as job market shrinks
Several hurt in Syria attack on joint patrol
Russia says joint patrol with Turkey struck by bomb in Syria
Virus resurgence ‘truly tragic’, says Khamenei
Yemen's Houthis agree to give UN access to abandoned tanker: sources
Mali PM pledges to quickly form an ‘open’ government