A little background on Midan neighborhood: Midan neighborhood is one of the first neighborhoods that rebelled in the Syrian capital, it witnessed huge demonstrations calling for the downfall of Assad. It’s a conservative area.
In the beginning of the revolution protesters used to head to Midan to take part in protesters. The neighborhood is in the center of Damascus.
I arrived Midan with a friend at 12:30 PM today 18-7-2012, there was a shooting very close to us but we managed to arrive safely. I cannot share my location with you in Midan, nor can I say who’s with me here. We are safe so far.
Clashes started early in the morning and it’s still on, we sometimes hear explosions every now and then, the residents of area here are telling us there are BMB tanks shelling the center of the area.
There are several checkpoints in the area, but the area we’re in right now is relatively safe thus far, there are four people martyred today in Midan alone; 3 from Free Syrian Army and the fourth is a civilian- an old man we couldn’t find his ID with him, we’re in the process of getting his name.
Update: 3:02 PM: clashes now in Haa’la area in Midan.
Update: 3:15 PM: according to leaked information coming from a soldier in the regime sympathetic with the revolution, the regime is planning to fire (sorry I am not familiar with the right to use here) toxic gases against the residents in Midan neighborhood that resulted in shortness of breath and heartburn in the respiratory tract. Medical masks are distributed among the residents and activists here. (update 11:58: no toxic gas were used against the residents here. The problem is that the area is under siege and the people are scared and on alert, it’s easy for them to believe any rumor, and you believe it with them because you literally could die any moment by mortar shelling. It creates an extreme stress and you become emotional than objective with your context. Apologies for publishing news hastily, I shall be careful more tomorrow.)
The activists here are in high spirit, it’s hectic over here but we smoke and drink tea (I am drinking tea now) and we joke all the time.
Update from 3:30 PM till 8:00 PM: Regime tried to raid the neighborhood in this way: the army withdrew, but the tanks remained around the area in attempt to siege it and was shelling on the area, then the snipers gathered heavily in the area, along with aircrafts hovering around the area to locate the activists, doctors and free Syrian army.
It’s important to say here that the field hospital was located by the regime and tried to mortar shelling it but couldn’t hit it, the doctors moved to safe place now.
Update 11:17 PM clashes continues near regime checkpoints. Two people were injured, their injuries are not critical, they were hit by snipers. I learned that there is a safe refuge for women in this neighborhood, and the men here are telling me to head there before it gets too late. I am having dinner now with citizen journalists and photojournalists, we’re eating tomato and mortadella. Come join us.