File - Men ride a motorcycle past buildings damaged by what activists said was shelling by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in Daraya, near Damascus in this January 15, 2014. (REUTERS/Hussam Zeen)
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One day last November, armed rebels woke Hind and her family at 6 a.m. and ordered them to march.For over two years, since Syria's armed uprising began to take root in the suburbs of Damascus, Hind had lived openly as a government loyalist while rebels gained ground around her.Soon, it was impossible for government troops to enter without risking major casualties.Hind saw no reason to support the rebels, who she blamed for ruining years of stability.Stuck in the rebel-held area, Hind and the other remaining residents endured months of isolation and a government siege before the rebels finally retreated a few weeks ago.Farouq al-Rifai, a rebel media activist for the Damascus southern front, which includes Hind's neighborhood, acknowledged that no military-aged men could remain in rebel areas if they were openly government loyalists.The rebels lost Sbeineh, a nearby town, to regime troops who quickly advanced toward Hind's area.
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