Drone footage reveals devastation of Homs in Syria as Europe's stance towards refugees toughens

Large parts of Syria are reduced almost entirely to rubble after five years of civil war

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The Independent Online

As attitudes and policies towards refugees harden across Europe, a video has emerged that exposes the utter devastation Syrians are fleeing from.

Revealing in detail the consequences of the country's five-year civil war, the drone footage shows the piles of rubble ruined buildings that Homs - previously Syria's third largest city - has been reduced to.

While the video reflects the utter desolation in a city that was once home to more than 650,000 people, peace talks aimed at ending hostilities remain frustratingly unproductive. 

Arguments over who should or should not attend the negotiations overshadowed the continuous damage wrought in a war that has seen over 11 million Syrians flee, more than half the country's entire population.

The video was shot by Alexander Pushin, a cameraman for Russian state television.

While his drone footage from Syria has been described as propaganda designed to promote Russia’s military involvement in the country, the startling scale of devastation it exposes is beyond question.

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Even as news emerged of nine people who died attempting to reach the relative safe haven of Europe, anti-refugee sentiment appears to be growing across the continent.

Denmark recently introduced legislation that permits the seizing of refugees' valuables, which drew comparisons to the treatment of Jews by Nazi Germany. 

Sweden is rejecting applications from 80,000 people who sought asylum in the Scandinavian country last year, while Finland also intends to expel 20,000 of the 32,000 applications received in 2015.   

Angela Merkel announced recently that Syrian refugees would be expected to return to the Middle East once the conflict is over, while British Prime Minister David Cameron dismissed those living in the squalor of Calais' "Jungle" as "a bunch of migrants".

Starting in 2011, the ongoing conflict in Syria pitches Bashar al Assad's regime - aided by Russia - against a multitude of different and competing factions, including Islamist group Isis and associated militias.

The language of a continent that once appeared to welcome refugees no longer appears so accommodating, despite the evidently dire situation in Homs, Damascus and other Syrian cities reduced to ruins over the last five years. 

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