The civil war that has been ravaging Syria since March of 2011 has cost more than 110,000 lives thus far. Hundreds of thousands of people have been injured and more than two million people have been displaced inside Syria, or are refugees in Turkey and Jordan.
The results of war are easily visible in Syria’s large cities, including the capital, Damascus. A video shot from a moving car documented the huge extent of devastation along the highway in Damascus’s eastern suburbs.
Homes and shops have been turned into piles of rubble and economic activity is largely paralyzed. Syrian president Bashar al-Assad has been using military force unsparingly, including attacks from the air, artillery shelling and tank columns that fire shells ahead of them at anything that looks like a suspicious hideout, as they advance.
The scenes of destruction are characteristic of other cities in Syria, which will require many years of rebuilding when the civil war is over. The Syrian regime has lost control over most of the Haleb region in the north, of Haska and al-Raka, and also of most of Deir a-Zor in the east and Dera’a in the south.
Around Damascus, heavy fighting continues, and the regime is putting great effort into attempts to block the rebels, who are trying to advance into the capital in house-to-house fighting. The Syrian Army has pounded the neighborhoods of Daria and Maazmia al-Sham, next to the Al-Maza military airfield, with heavy shelling, but has not yet been able to suppress the rebel forces holing up inside them.
Stubborn fighting is raging in two other strategic areas. The rebels are less than 50 km away from Assad’s home town of Kardaha, in the Alawite enclave in western Syria, while in the mountainous area west of Damascus, rebels are attempting to break through the Syrian military’s lines. They have succeeded several times in destroying regime tanks.