The Regime: Syria
BY ANDREA BRUCE
Damascus is a city of people waiting for the unknown.
Most men have sent their children and wives to safer countries. The millions who remain continue to work and attend school. The food stands are full. Cell phone and money machine lines are long. Most things appear normal.
But the shrinking bubble of “normal” Damascus which remains under the control of President Bashar al Assad is haunted by the steady sound of shelling, hundreds a day, outgoing to the suburbs of this ancient city and beyond.
Rebel car bombings are becoming common. Civilians who were largely sheltered by the civil war now find it at their doorstep. Local men armed by the government, called shabiha, stand guard at homemade checkpoints in their neighborhoods. And the displaced Syrians who fled areas of fighting for the safety of Damascus are worried once again.
Most people in Damascus are paranoid about discussing politics out loud...
...as its a dangerous stance
in a place where bothsides are intolerant of doubt.
In the Syrian province of Latakia, a regime stronghold, a small village mourns the loss of a son. Killed in an ambush at the other end of the country, the lieutenant — whose family asked that he be called by his nickname, Abu Layth — was the first soldier to fall from this village of 125 people in Syria’s coastal foothills, two years into a war that has only recently come close enough for the sounds of shelling to be heard.