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GlobalPost travels back to Daraa, where Syria's uprising began, to find a city under military lockdown.
As well as IDs, residents of Daraa wishing to travel north to the capital must now show security men at checkpoints their recently paid electricity, water and phone bills, a move by the regime to counter the spread of civil disobedience in protest centers like Daraa and Hama where residents began burning their municipality bills.
With so many checkpoints choking it off, Ali said many large food companies no longer send their trucks to Daraa, creating spiraling inflation on basic commodities.
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Many of Ali’s neighbors have moved to the slum-like illegal housing areas that have sprung up around Damascus over the past decade. Ali chose to stay in Daraa to continue working his government job but makes regular trips to Damascus to buy dry foodstuffs rather than pay exorbitant local prices.
And every time he travels he faces the same checkpoint humiliation.
“The military and security crackdown pushed the people to be more angry and radical but without solving any problems,” Ali said. “Personally, I used to be very supportive of Bashar al-Assad, but today I am not.”
A GlobalPost journalist, whose name has been withheld for security reasons, reported this story from Daraa, Syria. Hugh Macleod contributed reporting from Beirut, Lebanon.