Monday, April 2, 2012

Damascus on edge as Syria's strife encroaches on capital

Food prices on the rise, gas and electricity run short and latest influx of people fleeing Homs rattles capital

Foreign staff in Damascus, Sunday 1 April 2012

"...But life is getting gradually harder. Depression and insomnia are reportedly growing as the tales of death and torture mix with uncertainty about the future, exacting a heavy mental toll. Sanctions applied by the US, Europe and some Arab countries have pushed up food and heating prices. The Syrian pound has lost half its value over a year, reaching one US cent in February.

Gas is short and electricity too...

Others in the city of seven million now sleep five to a room as relatives pay visits for indefinite periods of time. The UN says there are more than 200,000 internally displaced Syrians, adding to 39,000 refugees in Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan, and others who have paid their own way to move further afield.

The latest influx from Homs, where a month of shelling Baba Amr and other neighbourhoods tore families apart and sent survivors scattering, is rattling Damascus. Residents are conflicted: the bloody tales are harrowing, but there are many in the capital who still have much to lose.

A rich businessman says his friends grow more disgusted with the regime by the day. But Assad's supporters are still passionate, too...."

No comments: