In the once bustling shopping district of Hamra Street in the heart of Damascus, three men - all made homeless by fighting which raged in the city for two weeks - sit outside their empty shops on a deserted pavement.
Residents of the eastern and southern suburbs of the Syrian capital, which have been hardest hit by President Bashar al-Assad's fierce counter-offensive against rebel forces, they have sought shelter with family in central Damascus.
"Can you believe that all three of us here have fled our homes? All of us are from destroyed homes. Living with relatives in the centre of town," said Ahmed, a shop owner from Douma, an opposition suburb to the east of the capital.
But even central Damascus has been shattered by the violence. Shops open only between 9 am and 3 pm, food prices have soared and no one dares walk outside after dusk, even in the holy month of Ramadan when streets are normally packed late into the night with people celebrating after a day of fasting.
"There are no customers and I sent my employees home. I cannot afford to pay them. I cannot afford to pay the instalments on my home. I am bankrupt," said Ahmed who, like others interviewed for this article, declined to give his full name.
The men, from the southern suburb of Sayida Zeinab and Hajar al-Aswad - hit by rockets and heavy machine gun fire from helicopter gunships - said they initially had little sympathy with the uprising against 42 years of Assad family rule, inspired by revolts across the Arab world last year.
"To begin with I was with the regime, for sure," said Ahmed. "But now, no, the regime must go. Take what they want with them, but they must go."
Mohammad blamed the 46-year-old president, who has vowed to defeat what he says is foreign-backed terrorist violence, for the increasing despair in Damascus.
"Can anyone stand by him now? I don't believe it. We're all refugees. We have no houses, no money. Our bosses don't pay us. This must end."
Restaurants in the centre of Damascus, which would normally be packed at dusk as Muslims break their daily Ramadan fast, say they have been empty for days.