Indiscriminate shelling is a daily reality in Zabadani, where nonviolent protests turned to guns after the regime began killing protesters.

Zabadani, a small resort town northwest of Damascus, was one of the first to hold nonviolent demonstrations against Assad in 2011. The response from the regime was overwhelmingly violent, and after months of widespread detentions, physical attacks and murder, Zabadani’s young men began to take up arms. Now, indiscriminate shelling is a daily reality in the town. “Without any kind of warning a shell will land next to you… While I was there two people were killed just one morning, a 58-year-old man and his 5-year-old nephew,” says journalist Sharif Abdel Kouddous. “This is the life they have gotten used to.”

Kouddous, who is based in Cairo, spoke with Nation editor Liliana Segura about the town’s struggle and where it is situated in the wider geopolitical context. His series of articles and photography for the Nation paint a vivid picture of life in Zabadani, and where Syria stands now.

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—Zoë Schlanger