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LA STAMPA

With Syria Ceasefire Holding, Damascus Is Quietly Reborn

After gains by regime troops, with Russian air support, calm and nightlife have returned to the capital. And locals are back to betting on Assad's survival.

Rolling back to life in Damascus
Rolling back to life in Damascus
Giordano Stabile

DAMASCUS — Looman Rustom is a 32-year old web designer in the Syrian capital. With an entrepreneurial spirit, he says he loves living life to the fullest, which he had always channeled through the spirit of his native city. "If your time has come, you'll die even if you lock yourself at home everyday," he says. "Why not get out and live your life, even if there are bombs and suicide attacks?"

In Damascus, four years of siege and civil war seem to have rather suddenly disappeared. Since a cessation of hostilities between Bashar al-Assad's government forces and opposition fighters took effect a month ago, the capital's streets have filled back up with traffic on weekends, which begin Thursday nights here.

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Mariateresa Fichele

Fifteen years ago, Francesco kept busy by scamming people. He was a regular visitor to the beaches of Terracina, south of Rome, where he was caught several times selling counterfeit Ray-Ban sunglasses. Then came the drugs, which fed a serious substance-induced psychosis and eventually he tested positive for HIV.

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