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'We are not Libya': Defiant Damascus seeks new dawn amid the rubble

Damascus, Syria (CNN)The once-desolate marketplace of Shaalan has sprung back to life. Shops shuttered for years have reopened their doors, glitzy new restaurants spill onto sidewalks and the traffic jams that were once a main feature of the Syrian capital have returned with a vengeance.For years, the red beams of tracer bullets streaked the skies of Damascus. The rattle of guns and bangs of explosions were staples of the city's soundscape. Residents who had been known to pass long hours on balconies retreated into the corridors of their homes."I lived in constant fear of losing my loved ones," says the Damascus native Mohammad Hassan. "We felt that we aged by two decades." In 2012, Syria's rebels took over large swaths of the Damascus coun ...