Conflict hits Damascus daily life

Daily life has become harder as the conflict intensifies in the Syrian capital

The fabled city of Damascus, the sweet "City of Jasmine", is now being squeezed by an ever-encroaching war.

Queues for the basics of life - bread and fuel - grow ever longer.

The daily soundtrack is the thud of government artillery, the crackle of gun fire.

The skyline is scratched by plumes of black or white smoke.

Fighting reached the suburbs of this capital months ago and you can increasingly feel it in the centre.

This week, Syria's Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs Faisal Mekdad told me there would be "hopefully, very good news very soon" that government forces would succeed in driving out rebel fighters.

Battles are being waged on the edges of this city which have been under ferocious government assault. Many neighbourhoods now lie in ruin.

But Mr Mekdad insisted there were no opposition fighters in Damascus itself.

The city centre, threaded by a shifting maze of security checks, is in government hands.

Cafes sell steaming coffee in stylish cups, civil servants dutifully go to work, and children are sitting their exams.

But bombers still manage to infiltrate the heart of the capital on a regular basis.

And, in one neighbourhood this week, we were surprised to find fighters of the Free Syrian Army openly carrying guns and running an office with their own fax machine and flag.

While the government does battle in more strategic neighbourhoods, this one for the moment seems to have slipped from their grasp.

Lyse Doucet Article written by Lyse Doucet Lyse Doucet Chief international correspondent

Gaza crisis: The grimmest day localisation->translate("watch"); ?>

The BBC's chief international correspondent Lyse Doucet reports from Gaza City on the impact of Israel's assault on the neighbourhood of Shejaiya.

Watch Lyse's report

Features & Analysis

  • Dr Mahinder Watsa Dr Sex

    The wisecracking 90-year-old whose advice column is a cult hit

  • Payton McKinnonLeft behind

    Why do so many children die in hot cars?

  • USA fanSoccer punch

    Has the US finally fallen in love with the beautiful game? BBC Sport

  • Cooling towers at the Temelin nuclear power station, Czech Republic, 2011Nuclear links

    The EU's dependence on Russian-designed power plants

Elsewhere on the BBC

  • Kyoto.Falling for Kyoto

    Acclaimed writer Pico Iyer describes an enchanting first stroll through the city


  • (File photo) Usain BoltClick Watch

    Challenging the world's fastest man to a virtual race over 40m – can you keep up?

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.