Eva Bartlett attends the Damascus International Trade fair and the annual Maaloula Festival of the Cross to see how Syrians in areas liberated from jihadi rule are defiantly celebrating their new found freedoms.
Christians and Muslims living in Maaloula were immune from war until September when opposition fighters, including an al-Qaida affiliate, besieged the town.
Before the outbreak of the civil war in 2011, the 360-kilometer highway linking the capital of Damascus with Syria’s largest city of Aleppo to the north, was the most widely traveled road in all Syria. It was also the corridor linking visitors with the country’s most treasured archeological sites and cultural landmarks. Upon leaving Damascus,