Damascus residents interviewed by the Voice of Russia correspondent Nawaf Ibrahim [Editor’s note: these testimonies coincide with the on-the-ground reports from Voltaire Network chairman, Thierry Meyssan].

What’s going on in the city now? How are you feeling about it?

Yara Ismail: Generally, life in Damascus is returning to normal after the July 18 blast. People are recovering from fear and desperation they all feel. As for me, I’m a little smitten. But, I’m happy to see that life goes on in the city. Yesterday, we were walking around and saw people eating out in restaurants and cafés, though they were few. I saw people in the markets buying stuff for Ramadan. Nobody stopped going to work or school.

Muhammad al-Deri: What is really going on in Damascus is that even those who were not physically hurt by the attack are hurt morally. The killed officials were real leaders who fought for Syria and its people. It’s a great loss for us all. Officers who died in the blast were among Syria’s best people. However, the deaths wouldn’t weaken the Syrian army as our ex President Hafez al-Assad created powerful troops indeed, and they comprise top officers.

Tell us about Bashar Assad. It is true that he can be easily contacted by ordinary people?

Muhammad al-Deri: Absolutely true. I met him twice being part of youth activists. We don’t perceive him as a president, he is family for us. When one talks to him, Assad behaves friendly and though one understands that he is a president it’s very easy to talk to him. Assad is supported by over 80% of Syrians and he seeks peace by all means as the majority of Syrians do. Thus, we are so grateful to Russia for all its efforts to establish a dialogue between the government and the opposition. We are for talks, not weapons.

Source: Voice of Russia