In central Damascus, it's perfectly clear that President Bashar Assad is firmly in control. In the souks of the Old City, his face looks out of almost every shop window, pinned up next to gold jewelry or intricate rugs. No one has a bad word to say about him, at least not to a Western journalist.
In rebel enclaves nearby, forces loyal to Assad are creeping back into control. After years of siege tactics, opposition forces in the suburbs of Damascus are increasingly making deals that see their fighters heading into rebel-held areas.