Middle East

Syrian voice: 'I am always scared'

Image caption With many protests outlawed, supporters of President Bashar al-Assad have continued to show their support on the streets of Syrian cities

As violent clashes continue to erupt between security forces and demonstrators across Syria, the capital Damascus has escaped much of the revolt.

Analysts say that unless Aleppo, Syria's second largest city, and Damascus, are fully caught up in the revolt, the protesters' chances of toppling the regime are slim.

Here, Ahmad, a Damascus resident who spoke to the BBC, says despite the absence of mass protests in the city, he and his family are living in constant fear for their lives.

"We are in a desperate situation here. We know everything that is going on around us, but people are too scared to go out.

People are living in misery. They are leaving the most dangerous areas to get away from the shootings.

I have heard gunshots every day. The last time I heard them was this morning when I went out.

A lot of the shooting is intimidation tactics by police and security, firing into the air.

People are still being killed in Damascus. If we talk about politics, we are dead.

There are no gatherings allowed, except on Fridays.

I don't pray, so Friday is not a holy day for me, but it is my only chance to get out and see people. There is no happiness at the moment. No gatherings with friends.

I recently went on the main road from Amman to Beirut, which goes via Damascus and it was like an airport runway - totally deserted.

Three weeks ago, a friend of my wife was arrested and tortured. Three brothers of my neighbour's were killed a month ago.

My son's friend was arrested, his limbs were broken. One of his legs is now paralysed. He is damaged mentally. His head will never be right again.

Image caption Syrian tanks remain on the streets

That is very difficult to take. I have since told my son to avoid all gatherings.

I can go to work, but I have to avoid all the checkpoints.

I am scared, always scared. There is constant humiliation, arrests and torture going on.

They want everybody to be afraid. It is very difficult to do anything. We are being intimidated by our own government.

I am risking my life even by revealing this. I hope there's some pressure applied on our government.

For now there is just me talking, but if any pressure is applied, you will have rivers of people coming out to talk about what is happening. For now all we can do is share videos on YouTube.

I am afraid of the future. I am afraid for my wife and my children.

We are worried. Worried all the time."

Interview by Stephen Fottrell.

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