DAMASCUS - The streets of Damascus
remained calm Saturday despite
looming U.S. military strikes, with
Syria’s defiant government promising
to keep state-owned bakeries open 24
hours a day.
Traffic was flowing, and there was no
sense of panic as people went about
their daily lives despite the resumption
of army shelling on rebel-held districts
that could be heard about every 15
President Bashar Assad has not spoken
for a couple of days, but the
government has sought to reassure
people, through statements on state
television, that Syria is ready to
retaliate at any moment.
It has even promised that state-owned
bakeries will now be open 24 hours a
day to help civilians in response to
what it calls “foreign aggression.”
State television has been talking about
what it calls a planned American-Israeli
military campaign, showing pictures of
Assad in full military uniform.
On the streets, government posters
have been changed to new images that
show him as steely and unflappable -
Syria’s own commander-in-chief.
However, ordinary Syrians are worried.
Damascus residents brace for possible US
NBC's Richard Engel says witnesses in
Damascus are reporting that civilians,
who live near government military
bases, have begun to abandon their
homes in preparation for possible
missile strikes from US forces.
They take no comfort in President
Barack Obama's reassurances that any
military strike would be limited and
It is has been reported that the army
has been moving equipment out of
barracks – anything from ‘scud’ missiles
and tanks, to computers and furniture.
In at least one area of Damascus,
they've taken up temporary residence
in a mosque, using that as a military
People are worried about how a
military strike might work out, whether
missiles might go astray, whether some
might hit chemical weapons depots,
sending clouds of poison gas across
And of course they're worried that the
UN inspectors have now gone – their
hasty exit adding to apprehension and
anxiety that a military strike may now