Video has emerged of the bombed ruins of the Syrian city of Homs, as the first peace talks in two years falter.
The footage, uploaded to YouTube on February 2, revealed the destruction of the five-year civil war. Children can be seen playing among rubble in what was once the country’s third largest city.
Homes, mosques and office buildings are marked by bullets and bomb blasts, as far as the camera pans.
In the same week the video was uploaded, peace talks in Europe stalled. On Thursday (AEDT), the UN envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, announced a “temporary pause” in discussions until the end of February.
Mr de Mistura insisted “this is not the end, and it is not the failure of the talks”, but even as he spoke Russian airstrikes were increasing in the country’s north and the Syrian army was breaking a long-running rebel sieges at the villages of Nubl and Zahra, weakening the chance of compromise.
“There is nothing to negotiate. Just go home,” Basma Kodmani, a Syrian rebel negotiator reportedly said at news of the regime’s renewed offensive.
There was some good news for the war-scarred citizens of Syria, as Australian foreign minister Julie Bishop sent water, sanitation and education experts to Jordan and Lebanon to help refugees as part of a boosted Australian aid package.
And still, Homs is in ruins, refugees flee, more bombs fall and the death toll rises, with no sign of peace.