In the Syrian city of Deir ez-Zor, the days are heavy and the nights are long. The sounds of explosions resonate and the streets are deserted as residents seek refuge in their homes. Too tired, poor, scared and hungry to venture outside, they struggle to survive from one day to the next amid the crippling siege as well as the ongoing Islamic State onslaught.
“All of us have this feeling that you might leave your home and not return,” Zein, a resident of Deir ez-Zor's al-Qusoor neighborhood, told Al-Monitor over the phone. “All the people are traumatized. There is no way to cope, as people become accustomed to a situation that then just gets worse."