As a US-led intervention in Syria looms on the horizon, FRANCE 24 is one of the few Western media still on the ground in Damascus. We asked locals in the capital how they feel about the potentially-devastating conflict.
As Western powers debate a military intervention in Syria, the capital of Damascus is as busy and noisy as ever. Shops are open for business, public transport is running and the streets are choked by traffic.
The UN team of inspectors investigating the apparent poison gas attack in Syria will leave the country by Saturday morning, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Thursday.
He added he would share the results "and our analysis of samples and evidence" with members of the UN Security Council and all UN countries.
Ban said he had spoken on Wednesday to US President Barack Obama, as the United States appears to be moving closer to a military strike, and had expressed his hope that the investigation team "should be allowed to continue their work as mandated by the member states".
Ban has repeatedly spoken out against military action in Syria, which the US, Britain and France have been pushing for, against opposition from fellow UN Security Council members Russia and China.
FRANCE 24 is one of the only remaining Western media in the city, alongside CNN and The Wall Street Journal.
Our reporters have been asking locals what they feel about an impending military intervention, which analysts say could begin within days.
Army sites and government complexes stud the bustling residential quarters and crisscross streets of Damascus, making military targets in the capital hard to reach without the risk of collateral damage.
“[An airstrike] would be impossible because there are a lot of people in Damascus,” one woman told our reporters. “How could they hit such a densely populated city? If their intentions are humanitarian, why do they want to hit us?
“It's us who will die, it's us who will pay the price,” she added.
Concern for civilian casualties in the country has led many to site the catastrophic US-led war in Iraq, which has left at least 115,000 people dead since it began in 2003.
“I don't believe the Americans will intervene because they don't want to make the same mistakes they made in Iraq,” one man told our reporters. “We shouldn't forget that Syria is different to Iraq.”
Others took the government line in front of the camera. “The citizens of Syria trust their army and their government,” one man said. “It doesn't matter which army wishes to come here, let them come! But Syria will be their grave.”
His sentiments echoed those of Syrian Prime Minister Wael al-Halqi, who warned on Tuesday that the country would become a “graveyard of the invaders” if there was a military intervention.
Damascus has been living in a state of emergency for months, with continual army checkpoints, a lack of imported commodities and frequent power cuts, making daily life a struggle.
President Bashar al-Assad has remained defiant throughout the two-and-a-half year uprising against him, and has continued to rebuff threats from global powers, even as the US, the UK and France draw up contingency plans for imminent action. But in one sign that his regime is taking precautions against a potential attack, our reporters in Damascus said that by nightfall on Tuesday, the Syrian ministry of defence had been left in darkness.
- UN’s Ban Ki-moon appalled by 'chilling' attacks on Syria's Aleppo
- Sarkozy's Populist Pivot, Bahamas Leaks, Syria Truce, Rome Olympic Bid (Part 2)
- US Police Shootings: Race relations and the race to the White House (Part 1)
- Fierce air strikes continue on besieged Syrian city of Aleppo
- Bid to revive Syria truce fails as new Aleppo offensive announced
- Interview: Assad blames US for Syria truce collapse
- Syrian ceasefire: Aleppo is between 'blood and fire'
- Kerry and Lavrov trade blame as air strikes pound Aleppo
- UN says it is ready to resume Syria aid convoys
- US says Russia 'responsible' for attack on Syria aid convoy
- France's Hollande tells UN General Assembly on Syria: ‘Enough is enough’
- So Much For Diplomacy: Aid under fire and no end to war in sight (part 2)
- So Much For Diplomacy: Aid under fire and no end to war in sight (part 1)
- Financing terrorism: 'The refugee crisis is the perfect storm'
- UN suspends Syria aid convoys after deadly air strikes
- Syrian refugees ‘living in fear in Egypt’
- ‘Little doubt’ Assad is to blame for sarin attack
- Hollande refuses to rule out Syria 'military option'
- Syria hails chemical weapons deal as a ‘victory’
- Opposition Syrian National Coalition names new PM
Date created : 2013-08-29