A slow road to recovery for East Ghouta’s farmlands | AFP

The former opposition stronghold of Eastern Ghouta was once the breadbasket of Damascus, providing rich harvests of apricots and vegetables to the capital. But a five-year siege by Damascus and an intense bombing campaign that drove out opposition forces from the area last year has taken its toll on farmlands and crops.

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Christmas joy missing in rubble of Syria town

With Christmas approaching, Nabil al-Aash dusts off religious books as he attempts to tidy up the war-scarred Saint George Church in the town of Arbin, northeast of the Syrian capital Damascus. Retaken in the spring by forces loyal to Bashar al-Assad during a brutal offensive to capture the rebel stronghold of Eastern Ghouta, Arbin is anything but festive.

Traditional aubergine meal back on the table in Eastern Ghouta

A Syrian family in the northwestern Damascus suburb of Qudsaya prepares a traditional eggplant dish called “Makdous”, a famous recipe they can once again enjoy after eggplants started growing again in Eastern Ghouta and access to ingredients became available following years of conflict where supplies were low.

Investigators to probe alleged chemical attack in Douma

Images of destruction in Eastern Ghouta’s main town of Douma, showing a labyrinth of tunnels left behind by rebel fighters. International investigators have entered the town hit by an alleged chemical attack, after days of delay and warnings by Western powers that crucial evidence had likely been removed.

What Syrians Think About The U.S.’s Military Strikes (HBO)

Hundreds of Syrians took to the streets of central Damascus today to show support for President Assad. This came after the U.S., France and the U.K. launched some 105 missiles on a chemical research this weekend on targets near the capital and Homs destroying three targets.
President Trump declared “Mission Accomplished” and described the strikes as“perfectly executed.” But Assad projected a business-as-usual veneer on social media, posting a nine-second video of himself walking through the presidential palace carrying a briefcase.
Analysts in the region say strikes like these could ultimately embolden the regime along with his Russian and Iranian allies rather than deter more attacks on civilians.
“Assad is in a much stronger situation than he was before,” Elias Farhat, a retired Lebanese general and Syria analyst said, “because he is, according to his people, is a hero who confronted the Israeli attack on the airfield and now American and European attack.”
But for the evacuees who lived in Eastern Ghouta and escaped this latest chemical attack in Douma, the US response seems meaningless.
“It’s too late for that [US airstrikes],” Abu Hasan, a recently evacuated Douma resident told VICE News, “after all these deaths, including children…but we blame them [the USA]|for not taking timely action.”

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