People walk up the stairs at a railway station in Damascus, Syria September 7, 2018. REUTERS/ Omar Sanadiki
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Mohammed Abu al-Khair sends 25 buses a day from the Syrian capital Damascus to Aleppo, an eight-hour trip that until recently took up to two days. The reduction in the journey time is a result of military gains by the Syrian army that have eased the movement of goods and people in government-held areas after years of paralysis because of the civil war that began in 2011 .Internal Trade Minister Abdullah Gharbi told Reuters that internal trade had risen by over 30 percent since the Syrian government retook major roads.DANGERThe old network of major highways is now open from the Lebanese and currently closed Jordanian border through Damascus, Homs and Hama, to the ports of Tartous and Latakia, and to Deir al-Zor in eastern Syria.Abdullah al-Mallah, buying a bus ticket for his hometown of Mayadin near Deir al-Zor, said that he now traveled between it and Damascus every week or two.When he fled Daesh rule for Damascus in 2016, it took weeks to cross the desert. Syria's border with Turkey is open only in rebel-held areas.In Damascus, bus companies advertised daily journeys there.Army victories had already saved hours in driving between Hama and Damascus, he said.
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