I arrived Wednesday afternoon to Damascus and am sharing some photos from en route and one area of the city. Sticking my camera in anyone’s face who wishes to talk and will share their thoughts here, too.
Whereas yesterday en route I noted to myself the surreality of being in Syria, a place I have read much about and am aware has been torn apart over the past few years, and seeing such beauty and relative calm along the route to Damascus and later in the particular area of Damascus I am in, this morning reality came crashing in, some sort of mortar attack roughly two hundred metres away.
Those outside, mostly people dressed in work clothes, scrambled along the streets to get where they were destined before any other attacks. I don’t know the origin of the mortar; some speculate that mercenaries in the outskirts fired it toward the city.
This afternoon, I chatted with Professor Raslan Khadour, Dean of the Faculty of Economics at Damascus University. He spoke of the situation in Syria, in general, and the impact on university studies. Like others I’ve had the chance to speak with already, he sees what is happening in and to Syria as part of a wider geo-political strategy.
“The problem is not a Syrian one only. It was not only in Syria, but also Tunisia, Egypt and other countries. It’s a foreign plan for various countries in the region. There is intervention by the west, especially American, British and Israeli intelligence. Saudi Arabia and Qatar have given the rebels a lot of money.”
“The terrorist groups have stolen stores of wheat, in Aleppo in the north, along the Turkish border. They export it, sell it to Turkey. The west’s blockade is against the Syrian people, not against Assad.”
“The biggest problem we face at university is security. Sometimes they fire shells at us. Getting to and from the university can be impossible sometimes, because the terrorists cut the road. They bomb bridges in some areas.”