Quotes: MENA   Enter Symbol: NewsLetter: Search: advanced

Damascus residents pray for 'miracle' at Geneva  Join our daily free Newsletter

MENAFN - AFP - 21/01/2014
No. of Ratings : 0
Add to Mixx!



(MENAFN - AFP) Exhausted by the devastating war that has asphyxiated Syria's capital, residents of Damascus pray that this week's Geneva II peace talks will produce a "miracle" that can silence the guns.Ahead of the talks, the army's bombardment of rebel-held suburbs of the city, and opposition mortar fire on its centre, have been less frequent.And in the streets of the Old City and elsewhere, there is a rare semblance of normality.Citizens go about their daily lives, youngsters take photos in front of the famed Ummayad mosque, and a vendor peddles souvenir pictures of President Bashar al-Assad and his ally Hassan Nasrallah, head of Lebanon's Hezbollah group.But weariness shows on people's faces when they are asked about a solution to the conflict that has ravaged their country for nearly three years, killing more than 130,000 people, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights NGO.

"Geneva? It would take a divine miracle for it to succeed," said Akram, who sells beans in the historic neighbourhood of Bab Touma."Neither one side nor the other wants to make concessions," he added, referring to the regime and to the opposition which voted on Saturday to attend the talks.Assad's government has said regularly that his departure from office will not be on the table, even though this is the opposition's main demand.Akram's hopes are more simple."What we want before anything else is security. If there isn't a ceasefire, we'll never get anywhere," he said as pro-regime militiamen patrolled nearby."Let them talk for months, but I want to sleep in peace," the 35-year-old added, bemoaning the economic ruin the war has brought.

"We used to export wheat and flour. Now we're importing it from Lebanon and Iran."Bab Touma, a majority Christian district, is now home to Syrians of all faiths who have come from across the war-torn country."I don't have much hope," said Maher, a Sunni Muslim medical engineering student who arrived five months ago from the northern town of Raqa, which is controlled by jihadists.'Too much pain'The talks "will end without results, particularly if the solution is imposed by the West," he added in particular reference to France and the United States, which back the opposition.His girlfriend Maha, a timid brunette, is even more pessimistic."Syria will never go back to how it was. I don't think there will be reconciliation because there has been too much pain."

Omar, a baker in Bab Touma, left the Palestinian Yarmuk camp south of the city about a year ago.He is delighted to have escaped the camp, which is mostly controlled by the opposition and has been under a regime siege that led to deaths from starvation among remaining residents."We are exhausted. We really need a miracle at Geneva II," said the 31-year-old former accountant, who sports a neatly trimmed beard."The two sides have to put aside their egos. If not, peace is impossible," he added, as he prepared "manoushe" flatbreads.While many Damascus residents want nothing more than a return to normal life, others trumpet the regime line."We hope for victory for us, for our president!" shouted one passer-by in the central Marjeh neighbourhood of the capital, where many displaced families now live in budget hotels.

"Everything will be over when the terrorists leave the country," said Amjad, another former Yarmuk resident, echoing the regime term for the rebels.Others questioned the role of the National Coalition, which is based in Turkey and is due to represent the opposition at the peace talks."Who are our leaders going to talk to?" asked Malek, in the working-class district of Sarouja, near Marjeh."The Coalition doesn't represent anything and the (rebels) are completely divided, so why should we negotiate with them?"Hussam, a drama student having a drink in a pub in the upscale Rawda neighbourhood, will be watching the talks closely."If I don't feel like anything is happening after the conference, I'm going to leave Syria," he said.

 


AFP




  MENA News Headlines
 Jan 29 2015 - HH the Emir Receives Phone Call from Ban Ki-moonQatar News Agency
(MENAFN - QNA) HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani on Thursday received a phone call from the United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, during which he thanked HH the Emir on the ...

 Jan 29 2015 - Consumer spends on pharma products to increase to Dh5.03b by 2020Khaleej Times
(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Dubai € Consumer expenditure on pharmaceutical products, medical appliances and equipment in the UAE has experienced a strong increase and is forecast to be valued around ...

 Jan 29 2015 - UAE- Time to put cyber security on top priorityKhaleej Times
(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Kaspersky lab solutions block millions of attacks across the globe, which clearly indicates that cyber criminals are smart, but not smarter than security providers.This was ...

 Jan 29 2015 - Indian business council honours Emirati businessmenKhaleej Times
(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Dubai - The Indian Business and Professional Council (IBPC) hosted a reception on the occasion of the 66th Republic Day of India at the Oberoi Hotel, Business Bay, on Sunday. ...

 Jan 29 2015 - UAE, Canada discuss ways to boost tradeKhaleej Times
(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Abu Dhabi - Abdullah Al Saleh, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Economy for Foreign Trade, received a Canadian delegation led by Martin Zablocki, CEO of the Canadian ...

 Jan 29 2015 - Emirates NBD facilitates Stanbic in $85 million loan facilityKhaleej Times
(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Al Ahli Bank of Kuwait and Standard Chartered Bank joined the transaction as mandated lead arrangers while Al Khalij Commercial Bank and The Commercial Bank of Qatar ...

 Jan 29 2015 - NBAD profit jumps 28% in 2014Khaleej Times
(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Abu Dhabi - A strong growth in incomes from interest and non-interest based revenues bolstered the National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD) profits to Dh1.372 billion in the quarter ...

 Jan 29 2015 - UAE pharma spend to hit Dh5 billion by 2020Khaleej Times
(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) It is also forecasted to increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of about 9.78 per cent from 2014 to 2020 as, by then, the value of consumer expenditure on ...

 Jan 29 2015 - Parents happy with children's educationKhaleej Times
(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Abu Dhabi: A survey by the Abu Dhabi Education Council (Adec) has revealed that parents across the emirate are satisfied with their children's schools. The education ...

 Jan 29 2015 - Customers continue winning at Malabar Gold 1amp Diamonds FestivalArab News
(MENAFN - Arab News) Customers continue to win at Malabar Gold & Diamonds' ongoing gold and diamond festival.The jewelry retailer's 4th edition of Malabar Gold & Diamonds Festival in the GCC ...

more...


 






Google

 
 

Middle East North Africa - Financial Network

MENAFN News Market Data Countries Tools Section  
 

Middle East North Africa - Financial Network
Arabic MENAFN

Main News
News By Industry
News By Country

Islamic Finance News
Private Equity News

How-To Guides
Technology Section

Travel Section

Search News

Market Indices
Quotes & Charts

Global Indices
Arab Indices

Commodoties

Oil & Energy

Currencies Cross Rates
Currencies Updates
Currency Converter

USA Stocks
Arab Stocks
 

Algeria 
Bahrain 
Egypt 
Iraq
Jordan 
Kuwait 
Lebanon
Morocco 
Oman 
Palestine
Qatar 
Saudi Arabia 
Syria
Tunisia 
UAE 
Yemen

Weather
Economic Calendar
Financial Glossary


Financial Calculators

RSS Feeds [XML]

Corporate Monitor

Events

Real Estate
Submit Your Property

Arab Research
Buy a Research

Press Releases
Submit your PR

Join Newsletters


 
© 2014 menafn.com All Rights Reserved.  Terms of Service | Privacy Policy | Contact Us | Advertise | About MENAFN | Career Opportunities | Feedback | Help