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  1. ITV Report

Defeated Syrian rebels' tunnel in eastern Ghouta turned into artwork honouring Government forces

Just months ago, tunnels such as this protected Syrian families from bombs during the country's deadly civil war.

After the siege of eastern Ghouta finally ended in April after more than five years, part of the rebels' network has been turned into a work of art which honours the Government and its forces.

A family seeks shelter in one of the tunnels under eastern Ghouta. Credit: ITV News

The siege resulting in the deaths of thousands of civilians - some estimate more than 18,000 - as well as fighters on both sides.

Back in March, ITV News witnessed firsthand what residents of the Damascus suburb were going through, seeking refuge in tunnels and basements for weeks at a time.

People head down into a tunnel under eastern Ghouta during the siege. Credit: ITV News

As well as places of refuge, the tunnels were also used by the rebels to carry out ambushes and transport weapons.

Following the defeat of the rebels in April, one tunnel has been turned into a work of art showing war and peace and honouring the Government soldiers.

Scenes show a Syrian soldier holding a gun under the Syrian flag, while in another frieze a Syrian child releases a dove - a symbol of peace.

A dove - a symbol of peace - is one of the artworks. Credit: CCTV/AP

The idea for the nine-metre-long (29.5ft) sculpture wall came from a fighter in the Syrian Arab Army who had an artistic background, and while serving in eastern Ghouta, he carved several sculptures on walls.

When the rebels were defeated, he invited 18 artists to start the sculpture project which took them 25 days to complete.

On Thursday, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad - the very person the civilians and rebels in the network were fighting and hiding from - visited the tunnel, praising the artists' efforts at turning "the tunnels of destruction, darkness and death into a symbol of development, hope and life".