Middle East Monitor, November 12 2014
It was in March 2011 when Nour (name changed), a student at Damascus University, first heard raised voices in the streets of Damascus. She read on Facebook that there was a protest against the regime; she could not believe that it would really happen, but it was true. Beneath her window, hundreds of people were shouting and chanting slogans against the regime, crisscrossing the area and calling for democracy.
Her body still shakes when she remembers that day. Today, in the same city, many young men have defected from the Syrian army and are hiding inside their houses. Check points are on every corner and snipers are positioned on rooftops, controlling the movements of the residents in each neighbourhood. Laments for the 7.5 million brothers and sisters dying of hunger in the rest of the country run through the Damascene nights, along with the echo of gunfire from outside the city. Life, though, carries on in the Syrian capital, where people pray that the Free Syria Army do not enter the city to liberate them from Bashar Al-Assad. At the moment, this is still better than freedom.