The story of this ancient town is the story of the Syrian uprising: state brutality, funerals and growing fury.
The Syrian cabinet has approved a draft law that will end the country’s state of emergency after almost half a century.
But the government does not appear to be completely giving in to protesters.
It has already arrested one prominent human rights activist in the city of Homs – and is also introducing a new law that would restrict future demonstrations.
Cal Perry reports from Damascus