File - In this May 18, 2017 file photo, Syrian boys pose for a picture as they sell balloons at the Hamadiyah market, in the Old City of Damascus, Syria. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)
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Across Damascus, new shops are sprouting up, business is brisk, and some people who fled the civil war years ago are contemplating a return.The Syrian war is likely to drag on for years, sustained largely by the intervention and rivalries of foreign powers. But in President Bashar Assad's seat of government, there is a general feeling the 6-year-old conflict is winding down.During this year's holy month of Ramadan, she said her older siblings, who left for the safety of Europe in 2013, were visiting Damascus for the first time in four years and were considering a more permanent return to the city.Many in Damascus are struggling to survive amid rampant inflation, and residents remain deeply apprehensive about the future. In recent weeks, the military, aided by allies Russia and Iran, has recovered rebel strongholds around Damascus.Tozan left his job in shipping and clearance a couple years ago and opened up four pubs in Bab Sharqi in the past 14 months. He says he is not oblivious to the death and suffering happening just around 3 kilometers away, but he wanted to show that there is another side to Syria besides war.
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