Quotes: US 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
 Oct 26 2014 - Afghan president visits Saudi ArabiaArab News
(MENAFN - Arab News) KABUL: Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai on Saturday made his first overseas trip since taking office fulfilling an election promise to undertake a religious ...

 Oct 26 2014 - Tens of thousands protest Renzi's job measures in RomeArab News
(MENAFN - Arab News) ROME: Tens of thousands of Italians took to the streets of Rome Saturday for a demo organized by Italy's largest trade union to protest Prime Minister Matteo Renzi's plans to ...

 Oct 26 2014 - France announces big coalition air raid against IS in IraqArab News
(MENAFN - Arab News) PARIS: The international coalition currently battling the IS group in Iraq dropped around 70 bombs on an arsenal and militant training center in a large-scale overnight raid the ...

 Oct 26 2014 - UN climate chief hails EU dealArab News
(MENAFN - Arab News) BONN: The UN's climate chief hailed a European agreement on greenhouse gases Friday as providing 'valuable momentum' for a world pact to be inked in Paris next year.The goals set ...

 Oct 26 2014 - Russia still has troops in Ukraine NATO saysArab News
(MENAFN - Arab News) MONS Belgium: Russia still has troops in eastern Ukraine and retains a very capable force on the border despite a partial withdrawal NATO's military commander said on ...

 Oct 26 2014 - Canadians seek to understand Parliament shootingArab News
(MENAFN - Arab News) OTTAWA Ontario: Authorities and ordinary Canadians sifted through confounding shards of a gunman's life seeking to understand what motivated the man to storm the nation's seat of ...

 Oct 26 2014 - French Accor expects UAE revenue to grow 10-11 percent in 2014MENAFN
(MENAFN) Accor, the French hotel group, said it is expecting a growth in revenue by 10-11 percent in the United Arab Emirates in 2014 compared to last year, and that they are targeting a growth of ...

 Oct 26 2014 - Iraq's oil exports to rise in OctoberMENAFN
(MENAFN) Iraq's oil exports from its southern terminals are maintaining their high levels, with an average of 2.55 million barrels per day (bpd), while Kurdish shipments are climbing in terms of ...

 Oct 26 2014 - Abu Dhabi int'l Airport traffic up 23.9 percent in SeptemberMENAFN
(MENAFN) Abu Dhabi Airports reported an increase in passenger traffic by 23.9 percent during September compared to the same month last year, with 1.696.651 passengers using the airport during the ...

 Oct 26 2014 - Morocco, Chad sign agreementsMENAFN
(MENAFN) Morocco announced it has signed a set of agreements and memoranda of understanding with Chad regarding several fields, QNA reported.The agreements which were signed by both countries include ...

more...


 






Google

Click to Apply

 
 

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

IPO News
Islamic Finance News
Private Equity News

How-To Guides
Technology Section

Travel Section

Search News

Market Indices
Quotes & Charts

Global Indices
Arab Indices

US Markets Details

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
Investment Game
Economic Calendar
Financial Glossary

My MENAFN
Portfolio Tracker

Voting

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


 
© 2000 menafn.com All Rights Reserved.  Terms of Service | Privacy Policy | Contact Us | Advertise | About MENAFN | Career Opportunities | Feedback | Help