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Syria and Iraq: Wars Present and Past

Duration:
11 minutes
First broadcast:
Wednesday 13 November 2013

Two accounts of how war has shaped life in the Middle East - and still does so today. In Damascus, as the conflict between the Assad regime and armed rebels drags on, Lyse Doucet sees denial at work as people desperately try to cling to "normality" and routine - even down to their birthday parties and pavement cafe terraces. Many problems of the region today are still blamed on the Anglo-French Sykes-Picot Agreement of 1916, which dismembered the Ottoman Empire's territory and redrew any number of borders. The Kurds, a minority group, were split up betweeen Turkey, Syria, Iran and Iraq - and often suffered persecution in later decades. In Erbil, northern Iraq, Kevin Connnolly hears people still debating today how WWI shaped their lives - and whether an independent Kurdish state might ever emerge.

Presenter: Pascale Harter. Producer: Polly Hope. Photo credit: Traffic congestion in downtown Damascus, Nov. 2, 2006. (AP Photo/Bassem Tellawi)

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