Damascus: Liberated Neighborhoods And Yet Besieged While The City’s Center is Under The Regime

Translated by; Aishah Barazi

The Syrian army is going after ghosts and assaulting the displaced people!

Everyday in Damascus, dozens of arbitrary raiding campaigns are taking place by fully-equipped soldiers invading and thoroughly inspecting entire neighborhoods. The term “soldiers” does not necessarily mean that those people are members of the Syrian army. As a matter of fact, Assad thugs and security members have put on military uniforms and are performing their daily chores while being fully armed!

Those campaigns are not always for the purpose of arresting activists. Most of the times, it appears as if they were chasing ghosts! They are trying to reassure themselves that the heart of the city is to the lease of their expectations still “neutral”. There’s no way now they can possibly believe it’s completely loyal to them. A missile targeted the Madfa’ Park in the famous Abo Rummana neighborhood, two raids were launched at a checkpoint in Khalid Bin Al Waleed St. in the same month besides the nonstop sounds of shelling that has become the only noise you can hear in the Damascus. Therefore, it is impossible they’d believe the city’s center is all to them albeit the barracks and checkpoints that continue to increase in numbers and ordnance.

In spite of above mentioned cruelty, the most vicious raiding campaigns are the ones that have been lately carried out in Damascus against the displaced people from the susbubrs. Those have been always an easy target at checkpoints inside the city. Immediate detention or simply preventing their freedom of moving around have become a common thing for them. For example, a young man from Douma or Harasta will avoid passing by checkpoints even if he wasn’t a wanted activist!

Most of the suburbs and particularly the Eastern ones, have been liberated. However, they are also completely besieged and undergoing a violent shelling on daily basis that doesn’t spare any living thing in those areas. The majority of residents have moved to other suburbs less prone to such deadly attacks. Only a few of those privileged families were able to move to the center of Damascus city. Many families, who are related to each other, jointly rent an apartment where all of the inhabitants are women and children.

Those families have become a new target for the Ghost Exorcists in Damascus who spends days combing through neighborhoods one house after another, inspecting lease contracts and ID cards. Any family found with a civil record issued from a town in the revolting suburbs, will be thrown out to the street without advanced warning even if they have paid down 3-6 months to get that lease as conditioned by most landlords and despite the fact that the contract itself was naturalized in the Municipality of Damascus!

This seems arbitrary to a far extent, it might happen in one street but not the one next to it; and might take place in one neighborhood but not the other without any rational explanation. On the other hand, if there are no regulations prohibiting the issuance of lease contracts for those who were displaced from the suburbs, the surge will continue to the heart of Damascus at the same pace. The regime’s options are very limited while clashes approaching the surroundings of city not to mention the eruptive neighborhoods of Barzeh, Qaboon and many others.

As for the Ghosts Exorcists who have become unemployed after their bailiwick has been confined to the city only, they might be driven by the mere avenging desire against those revolutionary cities, the ones that are semi-liberated and at the same time afflicted. They are trying to humiliate the people who survived and once again trying to uproot them! Fortunately, they keep on tirelessly growing especially that the soil of Damascus city has become ready for its final chapter and every time the barracks goes one level up, the Ghosts Exorcists’ grave deepens by one, too!