Lee Keath of AP manages, miraculously, to tell a story from Damascus that doesn't make you hate everything.
Once total strangers hailing from far-flung parts of the countryside around Damascus, they have created a sort of communal family in the hotel's cramped quarters. They all live on the third floor, and the wives cook together in the kitchen of the restaurant on the top floor, to which the owner has given them free rein. Their kids play together, dashing around the hallways and up and down the narrow staircase. The husbands — those who still have jobs — come back in the evening and play backgammon together in the restaurant, where the TV is.
In a gesture of support, the owner has cut room rates in half for them, to around $5 a day.