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
 Aug 29 2016 - Zain Iraq to expand services deal with EricssonMENAFN
(MENAFN) Zain Iraq, a leading telecom operator and Ericsson signed a 3 year extension of their network and IT operation and optimization managed services deal.Ericsson will continue to optimize, ...

 Aug 29 2016 - Qatar-Barzan gas project to start in Nov at USD10bnMENAFN
(MENAFN) Qatar will start working at its Barzan gas project in Nov, as the Gulf States aims to meet growing local energy demand to host the soccer World Cup in 2022.Meanwhile, the USD10bn project, a ...

 Aug 29 2016 - Kuwait-Sanad Co. posts 330pct grow in Q2 profitsMENAFN
(MENAFN) Sanad Holding Co. registered a 330 percent increase in revenues in the second quarter of this year to USD603.43mn.On the other hand, the firm recorded USD183.40mn in the same period in ...

 Aug 29 2016 - Egypt budget deficit to be reduced by VAT at 1pctMENAFN
(MENAFN) Implementing the value-added tax (VAT) will collaborate to Lower Egypt budget deficit by 1 percent.Moreover, the money will go for subsided food commodities, financing the government Takaful ...

 Aug 29 2016 - Jordan-Egypt to facilitate customs e-linking projectMENAFN
(MENAFN) Egypt and Jordan agreed to active customs clearance procedures by applying e-linking project between the two nations.Furthermore, the deal also involved easing the transit of ships and ...

 Aug 29 2016 - Iran exports of oil products hit record highKuwait News Agency (KUNA)
(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) TEHRAN, Aug 28 (KUNA) -- For the first time since the start of the oil industry in the Islamic Republic of Iran a century ago, the country's exports of oil ...

 Aug 29 2016 - Erdogan reiterates firmness against terroristsKuwait News Agency (KUNA)
(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) ANKARA, Aug 28 (KUNA) -- The President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan reiterated Sunday his country's firmness against any terrorist act and organization, ...

 Aug 29 2016 - Bomb explodes at institute of criminology in Belgium, no casualtiesKuwait News Agency (KUNA)
(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) BRUSSELS, Aug 29 (KUNA) -- A bomb exploded at the National Institute of Criminology in a suburb of Brussels last night but without causing any casualties. ...

 Aug 29 2016 - Pakistan, Saudi Arabia reaffirm pledge to promote cooperation in diverse fieldsKuwait News Agency (KUNA)
(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) ISLAMABAD, Aug 29 (KUNA) -- Pakistan and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia pledged to further enhance bilateral ties between the two brotherly countries and strengthen ...

 Aug 29 2016 - Two arrested for arson attack against Institute for Criminology in BrusselsKuwait News Agency (KUNA)
(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) BRUSSELS, Aug 29 (KUNA) -- Several attackers are believed to have been responsible for the attack against the Institute for Criminology in Brussels. The ...

more...


 





Google

Easy Forex
 
 

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