Life in Tartous, home of loyalists and internal refugees. Here, an event is celebrated:
On August 29th, I was sitting in the lobby when I heard gunfire out on the cornice, with exuberant chants of “We are shabihas, we are shabihas!” OK, a demonstration to demonstrate the city’s defiance and “steadfastness”, I thought to myself.
Actually, it turned out to be a celebration. The British parliament had just voted to reject any involvement in any military action in Syria. Just as suddenly as the atmosphere in Tartous had changed to a city on the edge of a catastrophe on August 21st, the emotional pendulum swung the other way round; the long feared specter of foreign military intervention, the consequences of which Tartous would have borne the brunt of, in one night had had a stake driven through its heart, and buried in a six foot grave.