At first glimpse, Damascus does not look like the capital of a country on the brink of civil war.
Mothers walk home with their shopping, children play on the streets, market traders sell their wares.
However as Damascus gets on with its business, the day after elections widely denounced as a sham, warnings over Syria’s future are multiplying.
Despite a shaky truce and a UN monitoring mission, deadly violence in the 14-month long revolt against President Assad continues to rage.
His regime promoted Monday’s parliamentary poll as a milestone on its path to reform but the opposition boycotted the ballot. State media reported a ‘notable’ turnout, a version disputed by many residents in the capital.
Amid mounting concern from the Red Cross and Arab League at Syria’s plight, many doubt a long pliant parliament will change when results emerge.
Our correspondent in Damascus, Bora Barayktar, says the chamber is now awaiting its new members.