Reuters

The descent of Syria

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Western tourists walk in Old Damascus March 2009. REUTERS/Khaled al-Hariri

Western tourists walk in Old Damascus March 2009. REUTERS/Khaled al-Hariri

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A Syrian farmer harvests wheat in a field in Assanamein area, south of Damascus August 20, 2009. REUTERS/Khaled al-Hariri

A Syrian farmer harvests wheat in a field in Assanamein area, south of Damascus August 20, 2009. REUTERS/Khaled al-Hariri

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A woman holds Damascene Roses during the picking season at Mrah village, north of Damascus 60 km (38 mi), May 20, 2010. The FIRDOS Project, a part of the Syrian Trust for Development, supports farmers in order to revive the cultivation of the Damascene Rose which is useful for perfume industries, medicine and natural drinks. REUTERS/Khaled al-Hariri

A woman holds Damascene Roses during the picking season at Mrah village, north of Damascus 60 km (38 mi), May 20, 2010. The FIRDOS Project, a part of the Syrian Trust for Development, supports farmers in order to revive the cultivation of the Damascene Rose which is useful for perfume industries, medicine and natural drinks. REUTERS/Khaled al-Hariri

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A Muslim woman prays before Iftar, when Muslims break their fast, during the holy month of Ramadan at the historic Umayyad Mosque in Old Damascus August 26, 2009. REUTERS/Khaled al-Hariri

A Muslim woman prays before Iftar, when Muslims break their fast, during the holy month of Ramadan at the historic Umayyad Mosque in Old Damascus August 26, 2009. REUTERS/Khaled al-Hariri

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Syria's President Bashar al-Assad gestures during the opening of the 36th Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) of the Member States of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) in Damascus May 23, 2009. REUTERS/ Khaled al-Hariri

Syria's President Bashar al-Assad gestures during the opening of the 36th Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) of the Member States of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) in Damascus May 23, 2009. REUTERS/ Khaled al-Hariri

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A Syrian Muslim girl stands at the top of Mount Qassioun, which overlooks Damascus city, during sunset and prays before eating her Iftar meal (break fast meal) in the month of Ramadan August 22, 2010. REUTERS/Khaled al-Hariri

A Syrian Muslim girl stands at the top of Mount Qassioun, which overlooks Damascus city, during sunset and prays before eating her Iftar meal (break fast meal) in the month of Ramadan August 22, 2010. REUTERS/Khaled al-Hariri

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A view of a new car tunnel at the Kfar Souseh roundabout in Damascus September 7, 2010. REUTERS/Khaled Al-Hariri

A view of a new car tunnel at the Kfar Souseh roundabout in Damascus September 7, 2010. REUTERS/Khaled Al-Hariri

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Supporters of Syria's President Bashar al-Assad travel in a convoy as they wave their national flags March 25, 2011. REUTERS/Cynthia Karam

Supporters of Syria's President Bashar al-Assad travel in a convoy as they wave their national flags March 25, 2011. REUTERS/Cynthia Karam

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People raise a large Syrian flag along the al-Mezzeh Highway in Damascus in this handout photograph released by Syria's national news agency SANA on June 15, 2011. The 2300-meter long and 18-meter wide flag was part of the "Raise with us the Biggest Syrian Flag" youth campaign to express national unity and to reject foreign interference in Syrian affairs. The 2300 meters was to represent the 23 million Syrians in Syria, according...more

People raise a large Syrian flag along the al-Mezzeh Highway in Damascus in this handout photograph released by Syria's national news agency SANA on June 15, 2011. The 2300-meter long and 18-meter wide flag was part of the "Raise with us the Biggest Syrian Flag" youth campaign to express national unity and to reject foreign interference in Syrian affairs. The 2300 meters was to represent the 23 million Syrians in Syria, according to organizers. REUTERS/Sana/Handout

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A person holds a piece of a projectile near a damaged pharmacy in the Bab Sabaa neighbourhood of Homs October 10, 2011. At least 31 people were killed across Syria, notably in clashes between gunmen believed to be army deserters and troops loyal to President Bashar al-Assad, a Syrian activist group said. REUTERS/Handout

A person holds a piece of a projectile near a damaged pharmacy in the Bab Sabaa neighbourhood of Homs October 10, 2011. At least 31 people were killed across Syria, notably in clashes between gunmen believed to be army deserters and troops loyal to President Bashar al-Assad, a Syrian activist group said. REUTERS/Handout

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Anti-government protesters carry an injured man while covering their faces from tear gas being fired in Adlb December 30, 2011. REUTERS/Handout

Anti-government protesters carry an injured man while covering their faces from tear gas being fired in Adlb December 30, 2011. REUTERS/Handout

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A Syrian soldier, who has defected to join the Free Syrian Army, holds up his rifle and waves a Syrian independence flag in the Damascus suburb of Saqba January 27, 2012. A small green, white and black rebel flag waving at the entrance to Saqba showed it was no longer under the control of President Bashar al-Assad's forces. REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah

A Syrian soldier, who has defected to join the Free Syrian Army, holds up his rifle and waves a Syrian independence flag in the Damascus suburb of Saqba January 27, 2012. A small green, white and black rebel flag waving at the entrance to Saqba showed it was no longer under the control of President Bashar al-Assad's forces. REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah

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Residents attend a burial ceremony for what activists say are victims of shelling by the Syrian army, in the Khalidiya neighbourhood in Homs February 4, 2012. Syrian forces killed more than 200 people in an assault on the city of Homs, activists said, the bloodiest day of an 11-month uprising against President Bashar al-Assad, ahead of a vote on a U.N. resolution calling for him to cede power. REUTERS/Handout

Residents attend a burial ceremony for what activists say are victims of shelling by the Syrian army, in the Khalidiya neighbourhood in Homs February 4, 2012. Syrian forces killed more than 200 people in an assault on the city of Homs, activists said, the bloodiest day of an 11-month uprising against President Bashar al-Assad, ahead of a vote on a U.N. resolution calling for him to cede power. REUTERS/Handout

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Syrians vote during a referendum on a new constitution in Damascus February 26, 2012. REUTERS/Khaled al-Hariri

Syrians vote during a referendum on a new constitution in Damascus February 26, 2012. REUTERS/Khaled al-Hariri

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People stand around the bodies of members of the Free Syrian Army who were killed by "Al Chabiha" or civilian supporters of Syria's President Bashar al-Assad near the northern city of Idlib February 28, 2012. REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra

People stand around the bodies of members of the Free Syrian Army who were killed by "Al Chabiha" or civilian supporters of Syria's President Bashar al-Assad near the northern city of Idlib February 28, 2012. REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra

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Men wait to buy bread in front of a bakery shop during winter in Al Qusayr, a city in western Syria about 4.8km (3 miles) southwest of Homs, March 1, 2012. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic

Men wait to buy bread in front of a bakery shop during winter in Al Qusayr, a city in western Syria about 4.8km (3 miles) southwest of Homs, March 1, 2012. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic

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Children chant slogans during a demonstration against President Bashar al-Assad in Hazzano, Idlib province March 2, 2012. REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra

Children chant slogans during a demonstration against President Bashar al-Assad in Hazzano, Idlib province March 2, 2012. REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra

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Smoke rises as Idlib city is shelled by government forces March 11, 2012. REUTERS/Stringer

Smoke rises as Idlib city is shelled by government forces March 11, 2012. REUTERS/Stringer

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Damaged vehicles are strewn near the site of an explosion at an intelligence building in Damascus March 17, 2012. REUTERS/Khaled al-Hariri

Damaged vehicles are strewn near the site of an explosion at an intelligence building in Damascus March 17, 2012. REUTERS/Khaled al-Hariri

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Syria's President Bashar al-Assad (2nd L) and his wife Asma (L) prepare aid for Homs citizens at al-Fahya stadium in Damascus in this handout photograph taken April 16, 2012 and released on April 18, 2012 by Syria's national news agency SANA. REUTERS/SANA/Handout

Syria's President Bashar al-Assad (2nd L) and his wife Asma (L) prepare aid for Homs citizens at al-Fahya stadium in Damascus in this handout photograph taken April 16, 2012 and released on April 18, 2012 by Syria's national news agency SANA. REUTERS/SANA/Handout

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An undated handout photo distributed by the Syrian News Agency (SANA) on July 8, 2012, shows Syrian armed forces during a live ammunitions exercise in an undisclosed location. REUTERS/SANA/Handout

An undated handout photo distributed by the Syrian News Agency (SANA) on July 8, 2012, shows Syrian armed forces during a live ammunitions exercise in an undisclosed location. REUTERS/SANA/Handout

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A man writes names on fresh graves of people whom activists say were killed by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad, after their funeral at the Qusseer neighbourhood of Homs July 19, 2012. REUTERS/Shaam News Network/Handout

A man writes names on fresh graves of people whom activists say were killed by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad, after their funeral at the Qusseer neighbourhood of Homs July 19, 2012. REUTERS/Shaam News Network/Handout

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A Free Syrian Army fighter reacts after his friend was shot by Syrian Army soldiers during clashes in Salah al-Din neighbourhood in central Aleppo August 4, 2012. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic

A Free Syrian Army fighter reacts after his friend was shot by Syrian Army soldiers during clashes in Salah al-Din neighbourhood in central Aleppo August 4, 2012. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic

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A Free Syrian Army fighter screams in pain after he was injured in his leg by shrapnel from a shell fired from a Syrian Army tank in the Salaheddine neighbourhood of central Aleppo August 7, 2012. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic

A Free Syrian Army fighter screams in pain after he was injured in his leg by shrapnel from a shell fired from a Syrian Army tank in the Salaheddine neighbourhood of central Aleppo August 7, 2012. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic

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Free Syrian Army fighter loads magazines for rifles during clashes with Syrian Army in the Salaheddine neighbourhood of central Aleppo August 7, 2012. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic

Free Syrian Army fighter loads magazines for rifles during clashes with Syrian Army in the Salaheddine neighbourhood of central Aleppo August 7, 2012. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic

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A Free Syrian Army fighter takes cover during clashes with Syrian Army in the Salaheddine neighbourhood of central Aleppo August 7, 2012. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic

A Free Syrian Army fighter takes cover during clashes with Syrian Army in the Salaheddine neighbourhood of central Aleppo August 7, 2012. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic

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Defected Syrian Prime Minister Riyad Hijab (L) sits with members of the Free Syrian Army in Deraa August 7, 2012. Syrian Prime Minister Riyad Hijab entered Jordan in the early hours of Wednesday August 8, 2012 along with family members, according to Jordanian Minister of State for Media Affairs and Communications Sameeh Mayta. REUTERS/Free Syria T.V./Handout

Defected Syrian Prime Minister Riyad Hijab (L) sits with members of the Free Syrian Army in Deraa August 7, 2012. Syrian Prime Minister Riyad Hijab entered Jordan in the early hours of Wednesday August 8, 2012 along with family members, according to Jordanian Minister of State for Media Affairs and Communications Sameeh Mayta. REUTERS/Free Syria T.V./Handout

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A Syrian Air Force fighter plane fires a rocket during an air strike in the village of Tel Rafat, some 37 km (23 miles) north of Aleppo, August 9, 2012. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic

A Syrian Air Force fighter plane fires a rocket during an air strike in the village of Tel Rafat, some 37 km (23 miles) north of Aleppo, August 9, 2012. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic

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A Free Syrian Army fighter helps a woman to run across a street during clashes in Aleppo August 12, 2012. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic

A Free Syrian Army fighter helps a woman to run across a street during clashes in Aleppo August 12, 2012. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic

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A Free Syrian Army fighter fires his sniper rifle from a house in Aleppo August 14, 2012. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic

A Free Syrian Army fighter fires his sniper rifle from a house in Aleppo August 14, 2012. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic

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A Free Syrian Army fighter carries the body of a fellow fighter during clashes in Aleppo August 16, 2012. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic

A Free Syrian Army fighter carries the body of a fellow fighter during clashes in Aleppo August 16, 2012. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic

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A man gestures in front of houses destroyed during a recent Syrian Air Force air strike in Azaz, some 47 km (29 miles) north of Aleppo, August 15, 2012. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic

A man gestures in front of houses destroyed during a recent Syrian Air Force air strike in Azaz, some 47 km (29 miles) north of Aleppo, August 15, 2012. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic

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A Free Syrian Army fighter carries the body of a fellow fighter during clashes in Aleppo August 16, 2012. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic

A Free Syrian Army fighter carries the body of a fellow fighter during clashes in Aleppo August 16, 2012. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic

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A Free Syrian Army fighter runs across a street dodging Syrian army bullets in El Amreeyeh neighbourhood of Syria's northwest city of Aleppo August 28, 2012. REUTERS/Youssef Boudlal

A Free Syrian Army fighter runs across a street dodging Syrian army bullets in El Amreeyeh neighbourhood of Syria's northwest city of Aleppo August 28, 2012. REUTERS/Youssef Boudlal

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Smoke rises after a Syrian Air Force fighter jet launched missiles at El Edaa district in Syria's northwestern city of Aleppo September 4, 2012. REUTERS/Youssef Boudlal

Smoke rises after a Syrian Air Force fighter jet launched missiles at El Edaa district in Syria's northwestern city of Aleppo September 4, 2012. REUTERS/Youssef Boudlal

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Ahmad, a Syrian boy, shows his collection of shrapnel and empty bullets in front of a destroyed house in Aleppo's Tariq al-Bab district September 12, 2012. Ahmad is collecting a piece from each shell that falls on his district and keeps them as souvenirs. REUTERS/Zain Karam

Ahmad, a Syrian boy, shows his collection of shrapnel and empty bullets in front of a destroyed house in Aleppo's Tariq al-Bab district September 12, 2012. Ahmad is collecting a piece from each shell that falls on his district and keeps them as souvenirs. REUTERS/Zain Karam

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A member of the Free Syrian Army opens fire from his machine gun during clashes with Syrian Army forces in Aleppo September 27, 2012. REUTERS/ Zain Karam

A member of the Free Syrian Army opens fire from his machine gun during clashes with Syrian Army forces in Aleppo September 27, 2012. REUTERS/ Zain Karam

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A man runs past a damaged bus at the front line between the Free Syrian Army and the pro-government forces, in the city of Aleppo, October 17, 2012. REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih

A man runs past a damaged bus at the front line between the Free Syrian Army and the pro-government forces, in the city of Aleppo, October 17, 2012. REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih

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A wounded Syrian man lies on a boat as he is transferred to Turkey over the Orontes river on the Turkish-Syrian border near the village of Hacipasa in Hatay province October 10, 2012. Scores of Syrian civilians, many of them women with screaming children clinging to their necks, crossed Orontes, a narrow river marking the border with Turkey as they fled the fighting in Azmarin and surrounding villages. Residents from the Turkish...more

A wounded Syrian man lies on a boat as he is transferred to Turkey over the Orontes river on the Turkish-Syrian border near the village of Hacipasa in Hatay province October 10, 2012. Scores of Syrian civilians, many of them women with screaming children clinging to their necks, crossed Orontes, a narrow river marking the border with Turkey as they fled the fighting in Azmarin and surrounding villages. Residents from the Turkish village of Hacipasa, nestled among olive groves, helped pull them across in small metal boats. REUTERS/Osman Orsal

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Syrians jump over barbed wire as they flee from the Syrian town of Ras al-Ain to the Turkish border town of Ceylanpinar, Sanliurfa province, November 9, 2012. Around 9,000 Syrian refugees fled into Turkey in the past 24 hours, the U.N. refugee agency said on Friday, and Turkish state media said 26 defecting Syrian army officers had also arrived. REUTERS/Stringer

Syrians jump over barbed wire as they flee from the Syrian town of Ras al-Ain to the Turkish border town of Ceylanpinar, Sanliurfa province, November 9, 2012. Around 9,000 Syrian refugees fled into Turkey in the past 24 hours, the U.N. refugee agency said on Friday, and Turkish state media said 26 defecting Syrian army officers had also arrived. REUTERS/Stringer

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A member of the Free Syrian Army talks to a woman during a patrol to search for pro-government forces in Harem town, Idlib Governorate, October 26, 2012. REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih

A member of the Free Syrian Army talks to a woman during a patrol to search for pro-government forces in Harem town, Idlib Governorate, October 26, 2012. REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih

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Free Syrian Army fighters fire a rocket towards a castle where pro-government forces are based, in Harem town, Idlib Governorate, October 28, 2012. Syrian jets bombarded Sunni Muslim regions in Damascus and across the country, activists said, as President Bashar al-Assad kept up air strikes against rebels despite a U.N.-brokered truce that now appears to be in tatters. REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih

Free Syrian Army fighters fire a rocket towards a castle where pro-government forces are based, in Harem town, Idlib Governorate, October 28, 2012. Syrian jets bombarded Sunni Muslim regions in Damascus and across the country, activists said, as President Bashar al-Assad kept up air strikes against rebels despite a U.N.-brokered truce that now appears to be in tatters. REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih

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A member of the Syrian National Symphony Orchestra carries his instrument as he walks near a poster depicting Syria's President Bashar al-Assad, ahead of a charity concert at al-Hamra theater in Damascus November 21, 2012. The charity concert was held to help displaced Syrians by collecting winter clothes in exchange for tickets for the concert. REUTERS/Muzaffar Salman

A member of the Syrian National Symphony Orchestra carries his instrument as he walks near a poster depicting Syria's President Bashar al-Assad, ahead of a charity concert at al-Hamra theater in Damascus November 21, 2012. The charity concert was held to help displaced Syrians by collecting winter clothes in exchange for tickets for the concert. REUTERS/Muzaffar Salman

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The mother of Free Syrian Army fighter Abdullah, mourns as his body brought home during his funeral in Aleppo December 21,2012. According to local residents, the fighter was killed by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad on Thursday. REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah

The mother of Free Syrian Army fighter Abdullah, mourns as his body brought home during his funeral in Aleppo December 21,2012. According to local residents, the fighter was killed by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad on Thursday. REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah

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A Free Syrian Army fighter carries the body of his colleague Abdullah during his funeral in Aleppo December 21.2012. According to local residents, the fighter was killed by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad on Thursday. REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah

A Free Syrian Army fighter carries the body of his colleague Abdullah during his funeral in Aleppo December 21.2012. According to local residents, the fighter was killed by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad on Thursday. REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah

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A member of the Free Syrian Army prays with his gun in front of him in Aleppo December 25, 2012. REUTERS/Muzaffar Salman

A member of the Free Syrian Army prays with his gun in front of him in Aleppo December 25, 2012. REUTERS/Muzaffar Salman

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Free Syrian Army fighters watch smoke rising from buildings from their position during a fight with forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al Assad at the front line in Aleppo December 26, 2012. REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah

Free Syrian Army fighters watch smoke rising from buildings from their position during a fight with forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al Assad at the front line in Aleppo December 26, 2012. REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah

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A father reacts after the death of two of his children, whom activists said were killed by shelling by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad, at al-Ansari area in Aleppo January 3, 2013. REUTERS/Muzaffar Salman

A father reacts after the death of two of his children, whom activists said were killed by shelling by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad, at al-Ansari area in Aleppo January 3, 2013. REUTERS/Muzaffar Salman

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A wounded child sits on a stretcher as he is treated in a temporary medical center after he was injured during a shelling by forces loyal to President Bashar al Assad, in Aleppo January 10, 2013. The graffiti behind reads: "Liberate Meng (area)". REUTERS/Muzaffar Salman

A wounded child sits on a stretcher as he is treated in a temporary medical center after he was injured during a shelling by forces loyal to President Bashar al Assad, in Aleppo January 10, 2013. The graffiti behind reads: "Liberate Meng (area)". REUTERS/Muzaffar Salman

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A man walks in front of a burning building after a Syrian Air force air strike in Ain Tarma neighbourhood of Damascus, January 27, 2013. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic

A man walks in front of a burning building after a Syrian Air force air strike in Ain Tarma neighbourhood of Damascus, January 27, 2013. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic

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Free Syrian Army fighters run for cover as a tank shell explodes on a wall during heavy fighting in the Ain Tarma neighbourhood of Damascus January 30, 2013. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic

Free Syrian Army fighters run for cover as a tank shell explodes on a wall during heavy fighting in the Ain Tarma neighbourhood of Damascus January 30, 2013. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic

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A Free Syrian Army fighter (L) looks at his comrade as he gets shot by sniper fire in the Ain Tarma neighbourhood of Damascus January 30, 2013. An attack was being mounted on an army checkpoint, the two-man team were about 50 metres from their target when two shots rang out. One of the fighters was hit, he screamed in pain and collapsed back on the tarmac. In a month on the frontline Goran Tomasevic documented rebel fighters as...more

A Free Syrian Army fighter (L) looks at his comrade as he gets shot by sniper fire in the Ain Tarma neighbourhood of Damascus January 30, 2013. An attack was being mounted on an army checkpoint, the two-man team were about 50 metres from their target when two shots rang out. One of the fighters was hit, he screamed in pain and collapsed back on the tarmac. In a month on the frontline Goran Tomasevic documented rebel fighters as they defended a swathe of suburbs, mounted complex mass attacks, managed logistics, treated their wounded - and died. But as constant, mortar, tank and sniper fire attested, President Bashar al-Assad's soldiers, often just a room or a grenade toss away, were equally well drilled - and much better armed. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic

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A man carries a boy wounded in what the Free Syrian Army said was an air raid by forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the Duma district area near Damascus July 13, 2013. The air raid on July 13 was part of al-Assad's campaign to secure the Duma area from rebels, according to the Free Syrian Army. REUTERS/Bassam Khabieh

A man carries a boy wounded in what the Free Syrian Army said was an air raid by forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the Duma district area near Damascus July 13, 2013. The air raid on July 13 was part of al-Assad's campaign to secure the Duma area from rebels, according to the Free Syrian Army. REUTERS/Bassam Khabieh

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Free Syrian Army fighters prepare for an offensive against forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad, in Aleppo's Salaheddine neighborhood, July 6, 2013. REUTERS/Malek Alshemali

Free Syrian Army fighters prepare for an offensive against forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad, in Aleppo's Salaheddine neighborhood, July 6, 2013. REUTERS/Malek Alshemali

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A Free Syrian Army fighter rests on a sofa as he watches television and surveillance monitors inside a room in Aleppo's Karm al-Jabal district July 15, 2013. REUTERS/Muzaffar Salman

A Free Syrian Army fighter rests on a sofa as he watches television and surveillance monitors inside a room in Aleppo's Karm al-Jabal district July 15, 2013. REUTERS/Muzaffar Salman

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A man walks inside the damaged historical old souk of Homs August 19, 2013. REUTERS/Yazan Homsy

A man walks inside the damaged historical old souk of Homs August 19, 2013. REUTERS/Yazan Homsy

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A man, affected by what activists say is nerve gas, breathes through an oxygen mask in the Damascus suburbs of Jesreen August 21, 2013. Syrian activists accused President Bashar al-Assad's forces of launching a gas attack that killed nearly 500 people, in what would, if confirmed, be by far the worst reported use of chemical arms in the two-year-old civil war. The Syrian armed forces strongly denied using chemical weapons. Syrian...more

A man, affected by what activists say is nerve gas, breathes through an oxygen mask in the Damascus suburbs of Jesreen August 21, 2013. Syrian activists accused President Bashar al-Assad's forces of launching a gas attack that killed nearly 500 people, in what would, if confirmed, be by far the worst reported use of chemical arms in the two-year-old civil war. The Syrian armed forces strongly denied using chemical weapons. Syrian state television said the accusations were fabricated to distract a team of U.N. chemical weapons experts which arrived three days ago. REUTERS/Ammar Dar

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A man holds the body of a dead child among bodies of people activists say were killed by nerve gas in the Ghouta region, in the Duma neighbourhood of Damascus August 21, 2013. REUTERS/Bassam Khabieh

A man holds the body of a dead child among bodies of people activists say were killed by nerve gas in the Ghouta region, in the Duma neighbourhood of Damascus August 21, 2013. REUTERS/Bassam Khabieh

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U.N. chemical weapons experts visit a hospital where wounded people affected by an apparent gas attack are being treated, in the southwestern Damascus suburb of Mouadamiya, August 26, 2013. REUTERS/Abo Alnour Alhaji

U.N. chemical weapons experts visit a hospital where wounded people affected by an apparent gas attack are being treated, in the southwestern Damascus suburb of Mouadamiya, August 26, 2013. REUTERS/Abo Alnour Alhaji

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Handprints are pictured on a U.N. vehicle carrying a team of U.N. chemical weapons experts visiting one of the sites of an alleged chemical weapons attack in the Ain Tarma neighbourhood of Damascus August 28, 2013. REUTERS/Mohamed Abdullah

Handprints are pictured on a U.N. vehicle carrying a team of U.N. chemical weapons experts visiting one of the sites of an alleged chemical weapons attack in the Ain Tarma neighbourhood of Damascus August 28, 2013. REUTERS/Mohamed Abdullah

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