Saturday, November 10, 2012

Damascus Battle II

From Akram: 
"After the sectarian attacks that, in the past few days, hit two “Alawite” neighborhoods in Damascus taking the lives of tens, it’s now the turn of the Christians. From Dweila’a to Kassa’a passing through Bab Touma, horror is dominating the atmosphere in the Christian neighborhoods where the residents are circulating rumors about an imminent terrorist incident that will happen in their streets in the coming days. These bad expectations aren’t the result of political analyses about what is seemingly an effort of the Islamist rebels to cleanse Damascus from its religious minorities or about what some of the Syrian regime’s propagandists (Nasser Qandil, Rafik Nassrallah) are describing as the last attempt of the “terrorists” surrounding the city to break in, before being defeated once for all. Indeed, the name selected for this week’s Friday demonstrations, “It’s time to invade Damascus”, contributed to spread the fear of what could happen if the rebels succeeded to infiltrate the city and occupy one of its neighborhoods.

But what drew the attention more was the leaflets that have been distributed in the Christian neighborhoods threatening the residents of imminent explosions that will hit nearby places in the coming days without giving more details. These threats have had an immediate effect: many schools that open on Fridays closed their doors under various pretexts, churches canceled their youth activities (Christian education, scouts, …). Kassa’a quarter, considered one of the most prestigious shopping streets in the Syrian capital and which is usually overcrowded on Friday evening, looked almost deserted with many shops closed.

Social media networks reflected the prevailing tension. Loyal Facebook pages published simple instructions the residents should comply with in order to “protect their neighborhoods against any potential attack”. A post appeared on Abbasyieen News Network warned that “armed groups composed of Afghans, Libyans and other mercenaries have infiltrated al-Shaghour”, a quarter located in the Old Town. It was also interesting to see war of communiqués between the loyal and opposition pages calling on their supporters to pay attention not to publish any information that may unveil the movements of the two warring parties.

Damascus lives on the pace of the brutal battles and bloody terrorist attacks that are taking place in and around the city, waiting the looming Damascus Battle-II".