A four-year conflict has dismembered Syria, inflaming the region with one of the world’s worst religious and sectarian wars. Most of its major cities are in shambles, and more than 200,000 people have been killed. Nearly half of Syria’s residents have been forced to flee their homes.
A Nation Going Dark
An analysis of satellite photographs taken over Syria found that the country is 83 percent darker at night than before the war. Widespread migration is one of the main causes.
Aleppo has been an active battle zone for nearly three years. Home to two million people before the war, the city is now 91 percent darker at night. Population migration, power cutoffs and destruction of infrastructure were the main reasons for the decline, according to Xi Li, one of the authors of the study.
The analysis compared composite images from satellite photographs, taken on five to 10 nights each month since the beginning of the war. Regions that are not firmly held by a specific group are more prone to population displacement and power shortages, two of the main reasons for losing their night lights, Mr. Li said.
Damascus has been under government control but is now 35 percent darker than before the war. But the capital’s suburbs, where fighting has been fierce, are 63 percent darker.
In Deir al-Zour and Raqqa, which are largely controlled by the Islamic State, the group has struggled to keep power flowing, especially after the coalition airstrike campaign that began in August last year.
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