Tuesday, October 1, 2013

"We just want this to end and for everything to go back to where it was before."

'Well beyond ..."
"... "We're tired of this," said one of the women, who gave her name as Um Yaman and clutched a bag of bread in one hand and a stack of personal documents in another. "We just want this to end and for everything to go back to where it was before."It's an oft-repeated sentiment in Damascus after more than two years of war between government forces and rebels seeking to oust President Bashar Assad.... 
Despite the prevalent sense of anxiety, life here appears mostly normal on the surface, including rush-hour traffic jams. People stick to the routines of going to work in the morning and returning home in the afternoons. Schools opened this month, sending clusters of exuberant children in blue smocks onto the streets and sidewalks. The ubiquitous presence of soldiers and armed militiamen at checkpoints and elsewhere is often the only outward sign that warfare is raging just outside the city limits.
In the bustling Hejaz area downtown, however, the stately, century-old-plus train station appears forlorn. Syria's trains have long stopped running.....
"It's sad: I don't understand why in order to bring down a regime you have to destroy the railroad and burn trains that we purchased brand new from China," said Younes Nasser, public relations manager for the Hejaz Railroad, as he stood on the station balcony overlooking the square and a century-old German-made caboose on display outside.
"Public transport is the nerve center of the country," Nasser said. "Now it is all destroyed."..."

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