A comrade was visiting Damascus and returned today. I asked her for her impression. She wrote (I cite with her permission): "It was rather calm yesterday. Didnt hear any shelling. This morning i heard sounds of explosions but very far. Last week was heavy. It didn't feel like war in Damascus, except for very few checkpoints, closed shops and empty restaurants. But this morning, I looked out the window, and saw kids going to school and people going to work, gives a feeling of normalcy in the streets. But you can tell that most Damascene people have left Damascus. Those who stayed told me how difficult life has become, and they are scared tired and bored. They wait for 4 to 5 hrs at gas stations to fill their cars. Everyone knows of someone kidnapped for ransom or killed, they dont go out at night. Many shops in Souk el Hamidiyeh closed down. Yet still what you see is nothing like what you have imagined before stepping in the country. There is still a lot of exaggeration. "