“War set me back 10 years, but I was demobilized today,” Damour said in a bustling market in Damascus, snapping pictures of sweets stands with his camera.
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After eight years of military service, Syrian conscript Sonel Ali swapped his drab army uniform for bright civilian clothes last week as he packed his things one last time. Ali was among thousands of young men who were enlisted in 2010, a year before the brutal repression of anti-government protests in Syria spiraled into one of the worst conflicts of the century.He thought he was joining the military for a maximum of two years, but instead ended up serving in Syria's war until now.His drawn-out deployment ended last Friday, after the army ordered 2010 conscripts to demobilize.All packed, Ali posed with fellow fighters for their first group photograph out of army slacks before heading their separate ways back to civilian life.Before Syria's conflict erupted in 2011, men 18 and older had to serve up to two years in the armed forces, after which they remained part of the reserves.But when war began, anyone enlisted stayed on active duty.Mohammad Damour had always wanted to become a reporter, but his dreams were postponed when his 18-month deployment turned into an eight-year tour.
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