This Is What the World’s Bloodiest War Looks Like #12

A photo a day from the Syrian civil war

This Is What the World’s Bloodiest War Looks Like #12 This Is What the World’s Bloodiest War Looks Like #12

Uncategorized October 8, 2013 0

David Axe photo This Is What the World’s Bloodiest War Looks Like #12 A photo a day from the Syrian civil war by DAVID... This Is What the World’s Bloodiest War Looks Like #12
David Axe photo

This Is What the World’s Bloodiest War Looks Like #12

A photo a day from the Syrian civil war

by DAVID AXE

Thirty months. More than 100,000 dead. Millions displaced. The Syrian civil war is by far the bloodiest war in all the world today—and it could only get worse as the political, economic, humanitarian and sectarian crises it has spawned spill into neighboring countries.

Today the 200,000-strong rebel Free Syrian Army holds much of northern Syria. But the regime clings to the northern cities of Idlib and Aleppo. A mountain overlooks the main road connecting the regime-controlled western Syrian to the two cities. Areha and its surrounding villages, once a thriving community of 80,000, sit atop and around the mountain.

Control Areha, and you control the road—and by extension Idlib and Aleppo. Fighting in Areha spiked this summer, as government and rebel forces battled back and forth across the boulder-strewn slopes, narrow earthen alleys and low olive groves. Today the rebels hold the mountain’s southern slope, squatting among the ruins of a village abandoned by civilians.

The main rebel force in Areha belongs to the secular Sham Falcons brigade, but some fighters from the Islamic Al Nusrah brigade are also attached. On Oct. 7 a squad of Al Nusrah fighters manned a barricade facing a narrow no-man’s land—across which the Syrian army held its own positions.

All day and night the rebels watch, wait and occasionally shoot. I photographed one exhausted young fighter sleeping among his awake comrades behind an earthen wall just 100 feet from regime positions.