Syria’s civil war seems to be nearing end amid government advances – but at appalling cost

Crossing into Syria from neighbouring Lebanon, visitors are greeted by giant posters of the country’s president, Bashar al-Assad. The signs proclaim: “Welcome to victorious Syria.”

In the capital Damascus, many of the checkpoints that for years have snarled traffic are gone. The city is again connected to its sprawling suburbs, once held by the opposition, and many former residents and visitors from other parts of Syria have returned.

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Read More Price of peace: calm returns to Damascus as Assad eyes victory

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