Leaning forward with his slender figure, Abu Mohammad al-Kahlous is busy repairing a broken wheel at an automobile repair shop in a public square in Douma city, a day after Jaish al-Islam terrorists were evicted.
Many shopkeepers and merchandisers have returned to their work, buoyed up by a sense of security after scores of police officers and personnel were deployed.
“I am not an auto mechanic by profession. It was dictated by a state of paralysis that has gripped the city since terrorists took over seven years ago,” Abu Mohammd, who is in his late forties, tells SANA. “I wish that I can go back to my original profession as a concrete carpenter. We were happy.”
The word “Inhabited” scribbled on one of the doors ushered us forth. Um Said al-Hanafi, one of the house’s inhabitants, received us. When asked how she and her family survived the terrorists’ reign of terror, she was taken aback, words frozen on her lips.
“I do not know how to describe this,” she says. Seconds later, she managed to shrug off painful memories with a long laugh which seemed like a sigh of relief.
She recalls that she had to sell off furniture after her husband lost his job at al-Ansar clinic, putting the family under dire financial straits.
Um Said insisted to bring tea, invoking a familiar ritual of family visits. “Douma’s good days are back,” she declares with obvious joy.
As a sign of the return of normalcy to the city, familial visits are back. Two blocks away, Um Fares is dropping by to visit her sister coming from where she resides in Aleppo Street after three months of lockup at home for fear of terrorists. “Everything was a source of fear. Now it is safe,” she said when asked about the situation.
Adnan al-Naml, 17, said he abruptly left school to help his father provide for their family, hoping that it is not too late to resume education. His childhood dream was to become an architect; a dream which he said is now revived after terrorism was defeated.
Internal Security Forces’ units entered Douma city in Eastern Ghouta on Friday to consolidate security after the city was cleared of Jaish al-Islam terrorists.