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
 Feb 11 2016 - UAE- Google software can qualify as 'driver'Khaleej Times
(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) US vehicle safety regulators have said the artificial intelligence system piloting a self-driving Google car could be considered the driver ...

 Feb 11 2016 - UAE- Technology powerhouses converge on Middle East's premier education exhibitionEmirates News Agency (WAM)
(MENAFN - Emirates News Agency (WAM)) DUBAI 11th February 2016 (WAM) -- Leading global technology stalwarts are converging on GESS Dubai to showcase the very latest advances in the education ...

 Feb 11 2016 - Abu Dhabi petrochemical producers promote Waste Free EnvironmentEmirates News Agency (WAM)
(MENAFN - Emirates News Agency (WAM)) ABU DHABI 11th February 2016 (WAM) -- Committed to supporting UAE National Environment Day on the 4th of February over 3000 people including students from ...

 Feb 11 2016 - RTA briefs delegation of Dubai Traffic Prosecution about customer service strategiesEmirates News Agency (WAM)
(MENAFN - Emirates News Agency (WAM)) DUBAI 11th February 2016 (WAM) -- The Roads and Transport Authority RTA has recently received a delegation from the Dubai Traffic Prosecution and briefed ...

 Feb 11 2016 - UAE- Emirates Post Group offers onsite interviews and CV preparation workshops for job seekersEmirates News Agency (WAM)
(MENAFN - Emirates News Agency (WAM)) DUBAI 11th February 2016 (WAM) -- Emirates Post Group is highlighting employment opportunities available for Emirati job-seekers in the group and its ...

 Feb 11 2016 - UAE Ambassador meets with Jordanian OfficialEmirates News Agency (WAM)
(MENAFN - Emirates News Agency (WAM)) AMMAN 11th February 2016 (WAM) -- Bilal Rabie Bilal Al Bodour UAE Ambassador to Jordan yesterday met with the UAE-Jordan Parliamentary Committee chaired by ...

 Feb 11 2016 - UAE- Lubna Al Qasimi emphasises unified international efforts to secure sustainable and creative financial solutionsEmirates News Agency (WAM)
(MENAFN - Emirates News Agency (WAM)) ABU DHABI 11th February 2016 (WAM) -- Sheikha Lubna bint Khalid Al Qasimi Minister of State for Tolerance Head of the UAE Committee on Foreign Humanitarian ...

 Feb 11 2016 - UAE- Mohamed bin Zayed meets India s President discusses promoting bilateral tiesEmirates News Agency (WAM)
(MENAFN - Emirates News Agency (WAM)) NEW DELHI 11th February 2016 (WAM) -- His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE ...

 Feb 11 2016 - ERC to fund university fees for Syrian refugees living in joint UAE Jordanian cEmirates News Agency (WAM)
(MENAFN - Emirates News Agency (WAM)) MRAJEEB AL-FHOOD Jordan 11th February 2016 (WAM) -- The Emirates Red Crescent ERC is to help three Syrian refugees complete their higher education in Jordan ...

 Feb 11 2016 - UAE- AUS and HSBC launch high tech Interactive Trading Floor first of its kind in MENA regionEmirates News Agency (WAM)
(MENAFN - Emirates News Agency (WAM)) SHARJAH 11th February 2016 (WAM) -- Under the patronage of H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah and ...

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