It was oddly tranquil up there on the roof of an obliterated commercial center in the Old City of Homs, once ground zero of Syria’s sanguinary conflict. A panorama of ruin spread in all directions, the ghost of a vibrant community, blown apart in body and spirit.
Empty streets sliced through rubble piles and rows of hollowed-out buildings, guarded by army checkpoints. On some thoroughfares in the nearby Khalidiya district, once a bustling urban space, weeds sprouted 4 feet high or more from cracks in the concrete, swaying in a winter breeze that wafted through empty apartments blocks.
Hardly anyone lives in Khalidiya anymore.
I took careful notes of the...