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View of an illegal neighborhood on the north-east edge of Damascus, Syria, 3 April 2007. Between four to five million people live in Damascus and its surrounding countryside, including over half a million Palestinian and Iraqi refugees, making it by far the most inhabited region in the country. Yet up to 40% of all building work in the city is illegal, either built without planning permission as an extension to an existing structure, or on vacant land without having first submitted plans for official approval.
© Hugh Macleod/IRIN