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Lights out over Syria as war enters fifth year

Syrian girls, carrying school bags provided by UNICEF, walk past the rubble of destroyed buildings on their way home from school on March 7, 2015 in al-Shaar neighbourhood, in the rebel-held side of the northern Syrian city of AleppoMuch of Syria is regularly plunged into debilitating darkness, experts said, highlighting the scale of the war’s devastation as the conflict enters its fifth year. Analyzing satellite images, scientists from Wuhan University in China found that since March 2011, when the war broke out, “the number of lights visible over Syria at night has fallen by 83 percent,” a coalition of 130 non-governmental organizations said in a statement. The divided and devastated city of Aleppo, once Syria’s main commercial hub, has been the worst hit with 97 percent of night lights extinguished in the past four years. “Syria is entering the dark ages, literally and metaphorically,” said former British foreign secretary David Miliband, now president of the International Rescue Committee, which has joined with the global #withSyria coalition.

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