The living stay at home. Everyone sits tight and waits. Many homes in the city are doing without gas, electricity, or hot water; even in the city center, where I stay, there is no hot water to be found. In the morning, people walk around the city center, as if stretching their legs after their hours of being cooped up indoors. But the claustrophobia, the feeling of everyone watching and being watched, is intense. When I venture outside—everyone cautions me against it—I feel like every Syrian is staring at me. There’s shooting, I’m told, in an area just a few hundred yards away from the hotel where I’m staying. Demonstrations still take place in areas of the city, often after a funeral or Friday prayers. In a café I see two waiters racing to a window and leaning out of it excitedly; one of them thought he could hear chanting going on in a different part of the city. I follow them to the window but strain to hear anything. In the early afternoon, even the center of the city begins to shut down. By early evening an informal curfew is in place and an unnatural quiet descends on the entire, empty city. Staring out at the main square from an otherwise vacant hotel, the place looks haunted, as if all its residents have been stolen away.