The mortar shells came early in the morning. At about five. At regular intervals. Solemn and sinister. They were a reminder of how close it all was. We were in the Damascus Old City. There was still fighting in Jobar, about two kilometres away. The rebels had also counter-attacked from the east... This was not in accordance with the line being promoted by the regime, according to which the rebellion was on the verge of defeat. But there it was.