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Gas production in Ash Shaddadi, Syria.
Gas production in Ash Shaddadi, Syria.
Benjamin Barthe

DAMASCUS — In Syria, it’s business as usual.

Despite the desolate landscape of destruction that loyalist troops leave behind and the sanctions imposed by Western countries, a few entrepreneurs in the power's sphere of influence are still amassing profits, say experts of the Syrian regime. They are lifting the veil on part of this occult and predatory system that allows President Bashar al-Assad to keep the allegiance of his followers and to finance his war against the opposition.

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In The News

War In Ukraine, Day 89: First Russian Found Guilty Of War Crimes, Gets Life In Prison

Vadim Shishimarin had confessed to shooting an unarmed 62-year-old man in northeast Ukraine shortly after the invasion began.

Vadim Shishimarin in court

Meike Eijsberg, Anna Akage and Emma Albright

On Monday, Vadim Shishimarin became the first Russian soldier to be convicted of war crimes since the Russian invasion three months ago, found guilty of shooting an unarmed 62-year-old man in northeast Ukraine shortly after the invasion began.

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Shishimarin, 21, who confessed to the shooting and asked the victim’s wife for forgiveness, was sentenced by a Kyiv court to life in prison.

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

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