Protruded near one of Syria’s hottest front lines for seven years, the eastern Ghouta district of Ein Terma endured more damage than the other areas in the conflict. The markets are now full and children flock the streets where shells used to fall a year back. But for the people who have returned to stay there, the recovery is slow.
This week, as the eighth anniversary of the civil war appears, Ein Terma’s smashed streets affirm to the long road ahead for Syria’s war-crushed towns and cities.
Many citizens have lost neighbors, friends or relatives as the population got dispersed through years of battle. Regardless of government work, debris still clogs many streets and the water and electricity supply is only limited.
Jobs are limited, and for people who lived in the area when it was regulated and managed by the rebels, family paperwork for births and deaths for that period must be done afresh.
In 2012, Samiha Fares along with her five children left their home early in the battle, as militias gained control over the district.
Fares had been working for the Ein Terma municipal government and the militias intimidated her children and set up rockets on the roof of her house. The family quickly shifted to Jormana, a district situated just across the front line from their old home in Ein Terma. When government forces regained the area at the end of March last year, Fares returned with her children.
Their house was empty and destroyed by fire. Although she found an old carpet, mattresses and blankets to sleep on; however, the financial situation was severe. President Bashar al-Assad’s forces reclaimed eastern Ghouta during a violent attack under massive bombardment. Even after the rebels surrendered, people who did not want to come under government control left to opposition-held Idlib in Syria’s far northwest.
Fares’ own income went on important items for the family. During the battle, she pulled her oldest son out of university so he could work and help pay the rent. It’s difficult for them to live a livelihood with no proper income source.