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SYRIA

If France were Syria… 37 cities would be deserted

The population of Cannes and Avignon would be wiped out and 37 of France’s main cities would be abandoned. That’s what would have happened if the war in Syria was taking place in France, according to an international campaign to raise awareness and aid.

If France were Syria… 37 cities would be deserted
"If France were Syria" - what would have happened to the country? Photo: If We Were Syria

In a bid to highlight the devastation of the war in Syria two Canadian journalists have spelled out exactly what would have happened if the conflict had taken place in France.

The online campaign called “If We Were Syrian” is aimed at helping people understand the scale of the destruction and loss of life by showing how the war would have affected G7 countries.

So Shannon Gormley and Drew Gough want us to imagine if 160,000 French people had died since 2011 and a further 10 million displaced.

That would mean the inhabitants of the southern cities of Cannes and Avignon would all be dead and the 37 biggest towns and cities in the country would all be deserted.

Around 6.5 million refugees would have fled to the countryside and a further 2.8 million would have fled France for neighbouring countries.

Around 4.8 million children would also be forced to leave their homes, which is the equivalent to every secondary school pupil in France.

“Since we can’t fathom the scale of the crisis, we’re not doing enough about it—not opening our borders enough, and not giving enough aid,” the journalists said on their website.

“But if we could imagine the crisis in our own country, we might support the people of Syria with greater resolve,” they added.

The journalists also proejected the death toll and impact of the war onto other G7 countries.

"If Germany were Syria, everyone in Leverkusen would be dead and Berlin, Munich, Frankfurt and Dortmund would be deserted," it says.

And if syria were the UK, everyone in the town of Reading would be dead and the capital city London would be deserted and in Italy the 12 biggest cities would be abandoned.

The campaign is calling for people in each country to write letters to their national parliament demanding that they increase the amount of aid being sent to Syria.

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SYRIA

French group to open two hotels in Damascus

France's Louvre Hotels Group has signed an agreement to open two hotels under its own name in Damascus, the first with a western hotel operator since Syria's brutal civil war began in 2011.

French group to open two hotels in Damascus
Louvre owns the Golden Tulip five-star brand. Photo: Louvre Hotels Group
The confirmation of the two hotels opening, after recent media reports, came a day after the UN announced an internal investigation into the bombing of hospitals in Syria, and as at least six civilians were killed by the Syrian regime and Russian fire in northwestern Idlib province in the past days, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
 
The region of around three million people, many of them displaced by fighting in other areas, is one of the last holdouts of opposition fighting against the forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
   
The Hayat Tahrir al-Sham alliance led by Al-Qaeda's former Syria affiliate controls most of Idlib as well as parts of neighbouring Aleppo and Latakia provinces.
   
The hotels “will open soon under the brand name of Louvres Hotels Group,” the company, which is owned by China's Jin
Jiang, said in a statement.
 
Louvre Hotels Group said the deal was signed between Syria's Nazha Investment Group and “a partner with whom Louvre Hotels cooperates in the Middle East”.
   
The exact number of people killed in Syria's war is unknown but hundreds of thousands have died.
   
Several dozen medical facilities with links to the UN have been damaged or destroyed by bombs this year. Russian has denied deliberately targeting civilian installations.
   
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Friday said an internal inquiry would look into the bombing of hospitals in Syria which had previously flagged their coordinates to avoid air strikes.
   
“The deal is strictly in line with international law and all international directives regarding Syria,” the French company statement said.
   
According to the website, The Syria Report, it is the first agreement with a western hotel operator since 2011, when the devastating conflict began. Louvre Hotels Group was taken over by China's Jin Jiang in 2015 and it operates more than 1,500 hotels in 54 countries.
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