In Damascus, Losing Faith in Assad
Even as forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad reassert control over much of Damascus, residents of the capital say they feel increasingly distant from the government they have long supported, and confident that it will eventually fall.
A major assault last week by Assad’s forces pushed rebel fighters from much of Damascus, and heavy shelling, day and night, has continued here this week, unsettling a city that had been isolated from the violence seen elsewhere in the country during the 16-month uprising.
On the streets of Damascus, there are thick plumes of smoke rising from rubble, the sounds of helicopter gunships in the air and long lines to buy bread. In the past week, residents who had been sharing their homes with Syrians who fled to the capital to escape the violence have been forced to flee themselves. More than a million people have been displaced by the fighting in Syria, according to data from the United Nations and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent
“We have feelings of hatred towards the regime now which will never get washed away,” said a 62-year-old man who owns four houses in the capital but now believes none of them is safe enough to stay in. Like others, he declined to give his name because he was concerned about the possible consequences.