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Daily life in a beseiged Syrian city

The besieged rebel-held city of Douma in Syria, located 10 kilometres northeast of Damascus, has been attacked countless times by the regime of President Bashar al-Assad both from the ground and from the air in the past three years.

Since September 2015, Russia has also carried out airstrikes the city. When the Syrian revolution broke out in March 2011, Douma was one of the first cities to rise up against the Assad regime in peaceful protest. The following year fighters from the Free Syrian Army liberated the city.

Since then, the regime’s airstrikes appear to have been designed to kill as many people as possible in revenge for the inhabitants’ defiance. Last August, an attack on a crowded market killed at least 80 people. This was not the first such attack, nor was it the last. In March 2015, activists launched the Arabic-language Twitter hashtag #Douma_is _being_exterminated to try to draw the world’s attention to the plight of the city.

Airstrikes and death are a regular fact of life in Douma. Despite this, the city’s inhabitants are determined to carry on with normal life as best they can. Children still go to school and people buy what they need from shops.

Photographer Firas Abdullah who lives in the city, took the following pictures of the city and its residents.

Douma at sunset. Signs of the destruction caused by regular regime and Russian bombardment can be seen.Douma at sunset. Signs of the destruction caused by regular regime and Russian bombardment can be seen.

The main street in Douma – bombed many times by regime aircraftThe main street in Douma –bombed many times by regime aircraft

Children playing in the street. Douma has been without electricity for years and despite the constant risk of attack, this is one of the few forms of entertainment available to them. Children playing in the street. Douma has been without electricity for years and despite the constant risk of attack, this is one of the few forms of entertainment available to them.

Children on their way to school. Some schools have been moved to cellars and underground shelters for protection against airstrikesChildren on their way to school. Some schools have been moved to cellars and underground shelters for protection against airstrikes

Some children no longer attend school because of the difficult circumstances imposed by the siege. Instead, they sell food and fuel and other items to support themselves and their familiesSome children no longer attend school because of the difficult circumstances imposed by the siege. Instead, they sell food and fuel and other items to support themselves and their families. The price of a litre of gasoline has increased from 40 Syrian pounds before the revolution to 300 Syrian pounds today.

A man selling biscuits. Many shop-owners have set up these “street-stalls” because of the damage caused to their shops by air and mortar strikes.

A man selling biscuits. Many shop-owners have set up these “street-stalls” because of the damage caused to their shops by air and mortar strikes.

A shop sells wood for fire. The people of Douma now use wood for heating and cooking instead of fuel and cooking gas because these items are really expensive and in short supply, thanks to the siege.A shop sells wood for fire. The people of Douma now use wood for heating and cooking instead of fuel and cooking gas because these items are really expensive and in short supply, thanks to the siege.

The results of the regime’s airstrikes are clear to see throughout the city. Many of the city’s residents have been severely injured as a result of the regime’s attacks.

The results of the regime’s airstrikes are clear to see throughout the city.

Photos by photographer on the ground Firas Abdullah.

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