Hammoud hangs wishes written on a card on the Christmas tree in the Damascus coffee shop.
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Instead of tinsel and baubles, the Christmas tree is decorated with a simple string of lights and dozens of colored squares bearing the hopes and prayers of Damascenes, war-weary after nearly seven years of conflict.Others include the painful prayers of a generation exhausted by war, including many young men hoping to evade Syria's compulsory two-year military service.More than 340,000 people have been killed in Syria since the conflict began in March 2011, and more than 5 million people have fled abroad as refugees.For Raghad Jarmqani, hopes for the safety of her loved ones have become more than just wishes. Customers often jot down wishes about getting married, seeing long-lost loved ones, or waking up to find that the last seven years in Syria were just a bad dream.
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