EXCLUSIVE: Daily life in war-torn Damascus
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Despite the constant threat of bombings, some residents of the Syrian capital are intent on leading as normal a life as possible. In this exclusive report, FRANCE 24 meets a number of Syrians trying to go about their daily lives.
Fighting between government and rebel forces has intensified in and around Damascus in recent days.
Yet in the government-held neighbourhoods of the Syrian capital, only birds and visitors jump at the sound of bombings and artillery fire.
These areas have been spared from direct fighting, but their inhabitants live with the constant sound of detonations.
Anas is one of the residents who have become used to it. “It’s just a normal feeling, after two years. We want to keep on living. Anywhere, you can have a bomb,” he says.
Unlike Anas, his two nephews who came from Germany to spend their holidays in Damascus still have a hard time adjusting.
“When you have a big bomb, the big sound scares them a bit... but this is life!,” Anas laughs.
Rockets shot from rebel districts
In the nearby Christian district of the old town, four rockets shot from the rebel districts fell on one street in 48 hours.
One of them hit the church and a woman died in the explosion.
“I live in a hotel nearby, and all of a sudden, I heard a woman shouting, then a lot of screaming,” a neighbour said. “I went out and I saw it was a rocket."
Further down the street, an elderly man called Jerjess likes to sit in a fold-up chair in front of his shop. That’s where he was when a rocket landed across the street.
"The wall up there fell, it left a hole on the roof,” he says, gesturing towards the top floor of the opposite building. The stone is pocked with shrapnel holes. “I hope our government will defeat these evil men, these criminals, these terrorists who strike down the civilians," he adds.
Jerjess came back to his shop -- and his daily life -- in a matter of hours. Like many of the people who did not flee the city, he refuses to give way to fear when clouds of smoke darken the sky over Damascus.