Ruth Sherlock

After almost seven years, some half a million people killed and a recent string of victories by the Syrian military, there's a sense the Syrian war may be coming to a close.

Russia, which backs Syrian President Bashar Assad, declared last month its mission accomplished and announced a partial pullout of its troops. Syrian state television now regularly broadcasts footage celebrating its military commanders as national heroes.

And investors from around the world speak in increasingly excited terms about that most lucrative phase of war: reconstruction.

On a bright, beautiful October day, Lebanese fisherman Emilio Eid is in his boat on the Mediterranean Sea. Lebanon's scenic mountain ranges are clear in the distance.

But the water around him is brown and littered with pieces of floating plastic. He spots bottles, a toothbrush, a used condom. An acrid smell burns his eyes and throat.

"Garbage, garbage, garbage," Eid says, and turns to look toward the coast.