September 9, 2014
The regime turned its attention to east Damascus suburb of Jobar after taking the town of Mleiha, the southeast gate to Damascus, from rebels in mid-August.
Over the past week, the Assad regime has carried out a fierce air assault on Jobar. During that same time, Assad reshuffled his government and cracked down on a series anti-government social movements.
The regime intensifies its attack on Jobar. Photo courtesy of @lensdimashqi.
The Syrian government launched 16 airstrikes on Jobar Tuesday, with one Syria military source suggesting that the regime will capture the district soon. The regime also extended its bombing campaign to nearby battlefronts such as Al-Dukhaniyeh on Tuesday as well, according to pro-opposition news agency Ajil Syria and Iraq.
While the Syrian government focuses its attention on battling rebels around the capital, life in Damascus has taken a turn for the worse, says a Damascus-based reporter for the pro-opposition Damascus Media Office.
“In general, the living situation is very bad,” said the reporter, who asked to remain anonymous. “There are displaced people from everywhere…most people are jobless.”
People are scared of the Assad government, he told Syria Direct’s Mohammad al-Haj Ali, because “the heavy bombardment of Jobar sent one message from the regime to the people: If the FSA progresses to Damascus, you will have the same fate as Jobar.”
Q: How do the people of Damascus feel about the battle for Jobar? Is there fear that fighting will reach Damascus?
The heavy bombardment of Jobar sent one message from the regime to the people: If the FSA progresses to Damascus, you will have same fate as Jobar.
This terrifies the people in the capital because they know of the regime’s barbarianism during the last three years.
Q: Are displaced people still moving in Damascus?
The new displaced people are coming from Al-Dukhaniyeh and the neighboring areas for the past two days [Al-Dukhaniyeh is a neighborhood directly southeast of Jobar]. Al-Dukhaniyeh is the new front of FSA progress.
Q: Who is behind the shells falling in Damascus recently, and why?
Damascus is sometimes hit by artillery and mortars. It is not targeted much compared to Outer Damascus.
Some of the shelling is from the FSA and Islamic battalions. Usually they target the security facilities in Damascus, but many of these missiles miss their targets and hit civilian neighborhoods.
There are entirely civilian neighborhoods being targeted by shelling.
Both sides, the regime and the FSA, are responsible for the shelling in Damascus. The opposition targets the regime facilities, and regime is targeting civilian neighborhoods only.
The regime is trying very hard to win control of Jobar.
Outer Damascus is entirely under the FSA and Islamist battalions’ control, while almost all of [the city] Damascus is under regime control.
Q: How do people in Damascus perceive new campaigns like Wainun and Sarkh [social movements launched by regime supporters critical of certain government actions]?
The pro-regime people and the families of Syrian soldiers have very low morale because of such campaigns, especially after the Islamic State captured the Tabqa military air base in A-Raqqa province.
Q: What is life like for people in Damascus?
are displaced people from everywhere, in addition to regime security branches and state employees, making it a very crowded city.
In general, the living situation is very bad. Most of the people are jobless and many of them are displaced from Outer Damascus and other places.
Q: Has the price of things risen?
Many rely on UN aid programs, which the UN distributes once every two months. The increased number of poor people is tied to the increase in prices over the past two years.
Q: Are there enough supplies?
Supplies are available, but electricity is available only during a very strict rotation [there are blackouts] and there has been a water crisis since Ramadan.
Q: Do you want to add anything?
I want to point to a very important subject: the detained people in regime detention centers in the middle of Damascus. Their numbers reach almost 10 thousand. The Assad regime has only released some in individual cases.
We receive daily news about detainees who have died under torture in detention centers. The families receive the news about their killed family members with silence grief, afraid that the regime authorities will kill the rest of the family.
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