Bashir al-Dimashky is, by his own account, an activist in the Coalition of Free Damascenes for Peaceful Change. He spoke in Arabic via Skype with MEV’s Delaney Chambers about the effects of the conflict between rebel and government forces in recent days in the Rukin al-Din district of Damascus and elsewhere in Syria. Bashir al-Dimashky is not his real name.
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Bashir al-Dimashky in the Damascus suburbs, July 26, 2012
For around the past six weeks, since the military brigades moved in, there have been sweeping changes in the capital, Damascus. Clashes have been taking place in many areas of the capital, and this has been causing problems in our daily lives.
Many of my friends and family members have been involved. Lots of my friends have left because they are needed [elsewhere].
Some of my friends have been killed, many of them by gunfire – one of them was walking down the street – and have been caught up in the clashes on the streets of the capital. One of my friends was killed in Dera’a, and another was in Dariya.
Many members of my family have been killed in the countryside. It’s destroyed – my life, that is.
Damascus clashes continue
“It has become very difficult to go about our daily lives in the capital” – Bashir al-Dimashky in Damascus
The attacks within the city have caused significant disruptions in government institutions because many employees, most of them from Damascus suburbs, have been on strike. Garbage has accumulated on the streets because the municipal services have not been operating. It has become very difficult to go about our daily lives in the capital.
Everything is now centered on the resistance and conflicts. For example, clashes have taken place in the area where my father is from, and also in Mezze.
There were clashes in Midan for several days, which was dangerous for us. Whoever the army wanted, they took. They obeyed no laws. The army attacked residences, going after the Free Syrian Army.
In the Mezze area, near the University of Damascus, there were many injuries in a series of attacks that took place on Monday.
In Aleppo, there were injuries and attacks on houses and cars.
Now, there are clashes in different areas. On Thursday morning, there were clashes in the outskirts of Damascus, in Daraya, Fijira and Hajra al-Iswid.
This chaos has not as evident in Damascus, but in the past two weeks, the capital has started to live through the catastrophe as well.
“The current economic downturn is forcing people who came to Damascus from other areas to go back” -Bashir al-Dimashky in Damascus
Here in my area, we have started to try to go back to our lives a little bit. When everything started [two weeks ago], the market was closed completely in Damascus, and now it’s still about 90 percent shut down.
In my area – which is called Shadi’a – as well as in central Damascus, economic life has stopped functioning completely. There is no sustenance – no bread, even – and it is very difficult to find food here.
It is clear that the current economic downturn is forcing people that came to Damascus from other areas to go back.
For most people the problem now is the lack of medical services. The wounded are unable to get proper treatment, and they don’t know what to do.
Delaney Chambers is a junior reporter and intern at Voice of America. A graduate student in Political Communication at American University, her interest in the Middle East stems from a year spent in Egypt and Syria, where she witnessed the beginnings of the two countries' respective revolutions. With over eight years of journalism experience in the US and UK, she is contributing her regional and linguistic expertise to VOA, Middle East Voices and our social media outlets.