As my recent trip to Syria proved, wars can be at their most dangerous when they’re coming to an end

Debts will have to be paid for the casualties of this war, and some soldiers are becoming rather too over-confident

It’s easy to think the war is over. Until mortars from Ghouta swish over Damascus and explode in the old Christian area of Bab el-Touma with its grocery shops and restaurants. Six dead. Or when an army officer comes and says quite casually to you: “Remember Captain Walid? He was martyred four days ago.” I’ve always felt uneasy about the word “martyred” – about any soldier, or civilian, anywhere.

But that’s the way the man referred to Captain Walid Jabbour Khalil. He was a combat correspondent with the Syrian army. He carried a notebook, not a rifle, and he had a dangerous job.

I knew him, though not well. Last year, he was covering the war on the mountains of Qalamun high above Lebanon, a short, cheerful, moustachioed man who, I thought, was happier as an official military reporter than an infantryman. He had been recording how the bodies of Jabhat al-Nusra fighters lay on the edge of an escarpment just captured by the army and its Hezbollah allies.

READ MORE HERE:   http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/syria-civil-war-deaths-danger-risk-assad-regime-rebels-russia-eastern-ghouta-damascus-aleppo-hama-a8188936.html

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