Damascenes were not shocked when the harshest battles [of Syria’s conflict] arrived in the very heart of the Syrian capital. However, what they did not expect was a repeat of the incidents that took place in Homs, Hama and Daraa, 16 months after of the revolution broke out across Syria.
Al-Masry Al-Youm toured some of the capital’s neighborhoods, including the al-Yarmouk refugee camp, a few hours before violence exploded after the assassination of Syrian Defense Minister Daoud Rajiha. A heavy military deployment was reported, confirming that the regime would not give up easily, even if half of the Syrian people are killed or injured.
Although the regime has closed the road to the airport, the residents of the al-Yarmouk refugee camp — who have recently joined the revolution — opened their doors to people who had been displaced from their neighborhoods, particularly those from al-Maydan and al-Tadamoun. The camp’s residents have also opened schools to accommodate refugees and made distress calls to provide them with food and clothes.
Commenting from the UNRWA camp on the participation of Palestinian youth in the Syrian revolution, Abou Kafah said that “the mission of the youth is to give shelter to the people and treat the wounded”. He added that “from now on the youth will not obey the regime’s instructions... the saying 'You are a Palestinian, it is none of your business' no longer is in our vocabulary... we are amongst the people that are being killed every day, and it is our right to return the favor to those who have given us shelter for decades.”
Mohammad, the Maydan Local Coordination Committee’s spokesman, said that they have been in a real war since Sunday, experiencing for the first time the tragedy lived by their brothers in other provinces, where the shelling has been continuous. He noted that artillery and gunfire could be heard in all areas along the road to the airport in al-Ghouta, up into the very heart of the capital in the areas of Kfarsousa, al-Maydan, Nahr Aisha, Qadam, Tadamon, and al-Mazza.
Abou Salim, activist in the Tadamon Local Coordination Committee, told Al-Masry Al-Youm: “We called on all the residents who were outside the neighborhood to not return to their houses, so that the Free [Syrian] Army, which defends us, will not have to withdraw for fear of the safety of civilians.”