How seven years of war turned Syria's cities into 'hell on Earth'

Updated 0422 GMT (1222 HKT) March 15, 2018

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Architectural masterpieces dating back centuries have been annihilated. Bustling marketplaces turned ghostly quiet. And basic infrastructure -- hospitals, schools, roads -- has been pummeled into dust.

Syria's civil war, which marks its seventh year on Thursday, has transformed ancient cities into scenes of apocalyptic devastation.
Since the March 2011 uprising against President Bashar al-Assad's regime exploded into a civil war with a dizzying array of fighting factions battling each other, entire neighborhoods have been wiped from the map.
Even in cities were the fighting has officially ended -- such as Homs, Aleppo and Raqqa -- government reconstruction is almost nonexistent, instead falling to civilians to mend the pieces of their broken neighborhoods as best they can.
And with governments and NGOs reluctant to hand money to Assad-controlled Syria for reconstruction, its once-vibrant cities continue to crumble.
Here's a look at the before and after.

    Greater Damascus: 'Garden of Eden turned Hell'

    Eastern Ghouta's devastated Jobar neighborhood, pictured February 27, 2018.