YahooNews.com - Full Article
AFP • March 3, 2019
Damascus (AFP) - A shadow of her former self after years of war, 11-year-old Arabian mare Karen stands quietly as a Syrian vet gently pushes a syringe into her pale grey neck.
"Karen used to be the beauty queen of all horses," says the vet, Ahmad Sharida.
But inside her stable near Damascus today, her hips jut out viciously from her overgrown speckled coat.
Weak and withdrawn, Karen is unable to even whinny.
After almost eight years of war, she is one of dozens of Arabian horses from all over Syria recovering from the physical and psychological trauma of the fighting.
Prized for their beauty, endurance and speed, Arabian purebreds are one of the oldest horse breeds in the world.
In Syria, Bedouins have bred them in the north of the country for centuries, seeking to maintain the purity of the local bloodlines.
Before the conflict, Sharida had proudly watched Karen grow from a long-legged foal into a graceful equine beauty.
"I know her very well. I was the one who brought her out of her mother's belly," says the vet, a stethoscope hanging around his neck.
But he lost sight of Karen after she was stolen from her stable in Eastern Ghouta in 2012, the same year rebels overran the region northeast of Damascus.
The area suffered five years of regime bombardment, as well as food and medicine shortages under a crippling siege, before Russia-backed government forces took it back last year.
Sharida had long fled his home region but returned to search for missing Arabian horses and immediately recognised Karen when he found her in October...
Read more here: