For those left in Syria, life among the ruins takes on a ghostly air – Los Angeles Times

Talal Barazi is seated in the pleasant outdoor restaurant of a heavily guarded hotel in Homs, or what is left of it.

“Basically, it’s Berlin after World War II,” says Barazi, who as governor of Homs province has seen much of the area under his jurisdiction destroyed by Syria’s civil war. He tries to put up a brave front.

“We have to face reality,” he says. “Some of Homs will be rebuilt, but some will have to be torn down completely. We can’t just look at all the ruins and feel sad and lament what happened.”

Much of his province’s prewar population of 2 million has fled, either to safer parts of Syria or to other countries. For those like Barazi, left behind by choice or necessity, life here has taken on a strange and ghostly air.

A recent swing through government-held areas of Syria by a Times correspondent provided ample evidence of the depopulation of a nation now defined by images of bombed-out buildings, rubble-strewn streets and refugees on the move.

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