Unnervingly clear drone footage shows the Damascus suburb of Darayya in ruins nearly five years after the city served as the site of some of the earliest anti-government protests in Syria’s civil war.
Darayya, one of the oldest cities in Syria, has seen some of the heaviest bombardment since the war erupted in 2011, having changed hands between al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra and the Syrian army repeatedly since 2012.
Largely controlled by government forces since mid-2013, Darayya was also the site of a reported massacre by pro-regime forces that killed nearly 400 people in August 2012.
Footage published on January 26 by RussiaWorks, a Russian company with ties to the Kremlin, shows how severely damaged the city is.
Business Insider cannot independently confirm the authenticity of the video. However, the footage tracks with other pro-Kremlin videos RussiaWorks has produced to bolster domestic support for Moscow’s foreign incursions, from Crimea to Syria.
“RussiaWorks is part of a slick campaign by the Kremlin to sell the war at home and project Russia as a military power,” Boris Zilberman, a Russia expert at the Foundation for the Defence of Democracies, told BI in October.
“The videos are put together by a number of Russian war correspondents/production folks that are tied to the Kremlin and probably have a lot of time on their hands — and some good drones — to make highly edited videos.”
Russia launched its air campaign in Syria on behalf of the Assad regime on September 30. This latest footage, released by RussiaWorks on Tuesday, comes three days before peace talks between the government and the opposition are due to begin negotiations in Geneva.
Aerial views of the city, once home to 80,000 people, show that virtually no buildings have been left intact
Here’s footage of a tank approaching a fork in the road
An aerial view of explosions ripping through the city’s buildings
Another view from the sky
You can view the entire drone footage here
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