For months, Russian forces have attacked the eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut with frontal assaults, artillery barrages and air strikes in a stubborn battle for a settlement deemed strategically irrelevant by many observers. . The assault follows a well-worn pattern eked out by Russian forces in eastern Ukraine, where cities are pummelled under withering assaults at great cost until the Ukrainian military retreats.
Dishes of spit-roasted lamb were served and the sound of electric guitars echoed across the pink Saharan dunes towards the Air Mountains.. The eagerly-awaited three-day party unfolded in Iferouane, an oasis sandwiched between desert and mountains 1,200 kilometres (750 miles) from the Nigerien capital Niamey.