They hoped of hearing something positive about their country to lift some of the darkness that has been crouching over their chests for more than 22 months.
Damascus (ANTARA News/Xinhua-OANA) - Unlike previous New Year Eves, when Damascenes used to flock to the capital`s overcrowded streets with fireworks of different shapes and colors floating overhead and noisy celebrations raging on till dawn, they chose to stay indoors dressed in their pajamas and glued to their couches behind TV sets to watch fortunetellers.

They hoped of hearing something positive about their country to lift some of the darkness that has been crouching over their chests for more than 22 months.

Watching fortunetellers on Arab TVs on the New Year Eve is a yearly tradition among million of Arabs, including the Syrians. This year, however, is different as Syrians want to watch the fortunetellers` words because they knew that their country will occupy most of those predictions.

For what it`s worth, most of those predictors have told that the Syrian crisis will not end in the new year, but said that they "don`t see President Bashar al-Assad out of the picture in 2013." On the contrary, most of the New Year predictions said that Assad will stay in the helm of power.

Mike Fighali, a very famous Lebanese fortuneteller, predicted that Assad will stay in power in the year to come, adding that the embattled leader will not hand the country over to "ragtag mobs" in case he decided to go.

He said, however, that the crisis in Syria will persist in the new year, but stressed that many Arab countries would fall before Syria.

Those predictions may have been a source of relief to those who support the Assad administration, but would sure raise the ire of the president`s opponents.

Anyways, this eve is different than anything Syria has ever known as there are no aspects of celebrations this year, no New Year trees, and most importantly, no passersby on streets due to security situation and out of fear of possible bombing or chaotic incidents at midnight.

A couple of years ago, Syria had the tallest Christmas tree in the world moving from one province to another in a show of the fraternal relations between all spectra of the society. However, this year, Christians feel threatened with the rising star of radical jihadists in the country`s 22-months crisis due to their loyalty to Assad.

"We are not in the mood to celebrate this year. We didn`t even decorate our Christmas tree," said Kinda, a 27-year-old Syrian woman. "If we could go back three years to enjoy our Syria," she wished.

She said that even though she doesn`t believe in fortunetellers, "it`s better than doing nothing now that there is no celebrations outdoors."

Kinda`s fiance, Firas, also wished for a better year to Syria and "that the killing and destruction would somehow stop."

Syrians in general are still living in shock as the crisis is nearing to enter its third year as such a civil conflict was once unthinkable and out of question and as the crisis seems all but close to an end as the efforts of the UN-Arab League special envoy, Lakhdar Brahimi, were all but conducive in kicking off a real settlement to the protracted and intractable impasse.

Most of the Syrians` recent Facebook posts on the occasion of New Year were photos of many Syrian cities before the eruption of crisis as posts of special experiences have swept the famous social networking site.

One of the most shared posts reads: "Oh 2012, minutes and you will depart; carrying along my memories of those who have left and will never come back. We have lost things; we grew, learned, cried, regretted and changed. We have bypassed happy and sad moments but we are still hopeful that God would fill our hearts with joy and laughter and that he will make 2013 better with less sorrow and tears." (*)

Editor: Heru Purwanto
Copyright © ANTARA 2013