The Al-Hamidiyah Souq, Damascus

Syrian Charlie, and the Fragility of Peace

A memory of Damascus before the war.

The first thing to say about Charlie was that he had one leg, but what he lacked in limbs he made up for in charisma.

He was stocky, hair slicked back like a ’20s mobster. Greying stubble covered his boxer’s chin. A crutch, the sort of wooden A-frame number you might associate with an eighteenth century…