Adnan Gimaah was perhaps the sourest purveyor of sweets in the old souk of Damascus. If a customer questioned the quality of his wares, he snorted impatiently. If they haggled too hard, he invited them to leave. His idea of small talk was to grumble about the phone bill his wife incurred in nightly calls to their son, a homesick refugee in Germany. “Costing me a fortune,” he said. Still, it was impossible to miss the humor that undergirded his gruff manner, and the customers seemed to like it. It matched the mood of the city: a fatigued capital with an increasingly threadbare air, trapped in an interminable season of war. Damascus is shielded […]