Damascus: everyday life for whom?
With fighting around Damascus having ceased, everyday life is slowly returning to the Syrian capital. While the people there enjoy a touch of normality, life in the immediate surroundings could hardly be more different. By Rahel Klein and Marko Djurica
Large parts of Damascus are intact: the civil war began in Syria more than seven years ago. In contrast to large parts of the country, the Syrian capital Damascus was largely spared fierce fighting. President Bashar al-Assad's government troops dominated and secured the megacity. Although there was also a danger of bombing there, many districts were comparatively safe
Thriving nightlife: following the end of the fighting in the region, people are slowly returning to normality. Here friends celebrate a birthday in the Marionette Bar in the old town of Damascus. The neighbourhood boasts a vibrant club culture that never came to a complete standstill even during the war
Cocktails in the old town: "there were days without customers during the war when the bombs fell," says 24-year-old Dana as she mixes a Blue Moon cocktail. "But we never stopped working." This summer, finally, more life returned to the bars, restaurants and cafes in the old town - it was the first summer since 2011 without the noise of war
Just a stone's throw from destruction: drive a few kilometres from the capital to the suburbs and you'll see the other side of Syria destroyed by the war. In areas that were taken over by rebels, the return to pre-war everyday life is precarious, arduous and fraught with difficulty
Everyday life in ruins: in Douma, some 15 kilometres from Damascus, entire streets lie in ruins. Residential buildings, hospitals and shops were flattened during the war. The fighting only ended a few months ago. Reconstruction will cost hundreds of billions of dollars - money the Syrian regime cannot afford on its own. Returning to normality is likely to become the task of the century
Make do and mend: Western states are making any reconstruction aid dependent on political change. Meanwhile, people in the former war zones are working with what little is left. Many hospitals are in ruins, while the walls of others have been blasted open by grenades. Yet doctors continue to work out of the basements if necessary