A Journey Through Assad's Syria

A Journey Through Assad's Syria
Associated Press

This two-part series takes a journey through Syrian cities after the fall of Aleppo to government forces. As Bashar al-Assad, buoyed by Russian and Iranian support, begins to reclaim greater control of his country following a nearly six-year civil war, reporters make their way through Assad country to see if reconciliation is possible.

From Der Spiegel:

A visit to Assad's Syria, a rump state around the large cities in the west, over which the dictator has regained control thanks to Russian and Iranian support, is like entering an apocalyptic world. Large Mercedes tractor-trailers drive water tanks through Aleppo's ruins while the streets are patrolled by armored vehicles manned by Russian soldiers. Assad can frequently be seen on television while fear can be seen in the eyes of many residents.

Our journey leads us to the three largest cities in northern and western Syria: Aleppo, Latakia and Homs. Aleppo has become symbolic of the brutal bombing campaign. Latakia, the regime stronghold on the Mediterranean, was largely untouched by the war and is still a popular vacation spot in the summer. And Homs, once the center of the uprising, was destroyed and is now slated to become a model of reconstruction.

When journalists travel through Syria, they are unable to move about freely. Officially, we are only allowed to visit places for which we have obtained written permits from Damascus. Furthermore, only people who are acceptable to the regime can be interviewed and any other meetings must take place in secret. Usually, journalists are accompanied by government minders.

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