Lying just a couple of kilometres east of the centre of Old Damascus and some of the city's best-known ancient monuments - and just a couple more from the pompous modernistic monolith that is the Syrian presidential palace - the suburb of Jobar was once a peaceful and modestly prosperous place. It's probably most famous as the site of the 8th-century Eliyahu Hanavi Synagogue, a place of Jewish pilgrimage for centuries.
Otherwise, it was the kind of pleasant-enough area to which ordinary people gravitate when wanting to bring up their children, go about their business and get on with their lives: unassuming streets of shops, apartment blocks, offices, cafes, neighbourhood schools and mosques.
Then came the Arab Spring, the Syrian uprising of 2011 and the devastating war that followed. As in other parts of the capital and the country, many residents of Jobar joined the early peaceful demonstrations against President Bashar al-Assad, seeking democratic reforms and policy changes.
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