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Sunday, April 28, 2013

Living the good life... in Damascus?

Yes, there are still Syrians who are living well, despite the country's civil war.
Yet in the neighborhood of Malki, a tree-lined enclave of central Damascus, a wealthy group of elite, pro-government Syrians still enjoy shopping for imported French cheeses, gourmet hand-made chocolates and iPad minis in the well-stocked, recently built Grand Mall and in nearby boutiques.

Such are the parallel realities of a conflict in which, for all the gains made by rebels and the current chatter about US "red lines" crossed that might ultimately draw in Western might, President Bashar Assad is holding his ground in the capital, bulwarked by his own foreign allies and by many Syrians who fear his end could prove fatal for them too. And so life goes on.

In Malki, sprinklers water the manicured lawns outside their blocks of million-dollar apartments. Maids and drivers cater to their every whim and birds sing in the trees. Fuel for their BMWs and electricity for their air-conditioning is plentiful and the well-guarded streets are free of loiterers.

"Look at this display and you feel all is well, life is good and everything is here," said an elegantly dressed Hiyam Jabri, 50, as she placed her order at the delicatessen counter in the mall's main supermarket.

Malki residents continue to enjoy material comforts and abundant supplies of imported goods, even as millions of their compatriots subsist on food handouts.
Read the whole thing. Life isn't what it once was in Syria.

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