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Syria’s Alawites Under Siege

Ali Hashem reports from Damascus on Syria’s Alawite community and the sectarian conflict there.
View of buildings damaged by what activists said were shelling by Syrian force loyal to President Bashar al-Assad in Erbeen, near Damascus December 31, 2012. Picture taken December 31, 2012.   REUTERS/Bassam Al-Erbeeni/Shaam News Network/Handout (SYRIA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST) FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS

Having dinner in one of Damascus' trendy restaurants might give the feeling that Syria is calm, and all the news circulating here and there are baseless rumors. Tables are fully booked, people from different areas and various sectarian backgrounds are sitting together and sharing the same food; smiley faces refute all claims that Syria is in the midst of a bloody civil war, till the sound of artillery shakes the place and uproots all feelings of safety and peace.

In the capital of Syria people in mixed, poor neighborhoods are living nightmares; they know that their best days are behind, and what is to come is much more dangerous than all that they are going through nowadays.

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