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3.2.15

* Syria - Possibly the most terrifying public transit job in history

* Syria & Lebanon - Driving a bus in

(STR-AFP / Getty Images - A yellow public transportation bus is used as a barricade along the front line in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo, on May 13, 2013) 
 -- Every few days Mohammed, who spoke under a pseudonym, drives from Beirut in Lebanon to Aleppo in northern Syria, a journey across the devastated country... The windscreen of Mohammed’s coach was so cracked that it was held together with adhesive tape. Bullet holes had pierced the side. Fans and reading lights above the passenger seats had been ripped out to prevent smuggled weapons being hidden in the vent behind them... Mohammed – a slender man in his mid-forties with a nervous twitch – is a bus driver in Syria, which may now be the most dangerous job in the world... Even in the throes of civil war, the country’s public transport has not stopped. But the journeys involve crossing front lines, accelerating through armed clashes and running the gauntlet of kidnap by pro-regime gunmen and jihadists alike... “A lot of times my bus was shot at,” said Mohammed. “I have driven through live clashes between the armed groups and the regime” ... Another driver, Abed, sat behind the wheel of an equally battered vehicle. Much of his face was covered in a thick but patchy beard. On the journey it can make the difference between life and death. “If I don’t have a beard, then at best the jihadists won’t let me enter their area,” he said... Abed regularly drives from Beirut in Lebanon to Raqqa in northeast Syria, the “de facto capital” of terrain controlled by the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS)... “It’s a very hard situation,” he said. “Every time you leave your house you wonder if you will ever return” ... Recently militiamen forced all Abed’s passengers from the coach. “They demanded everyone’s mobile phones,” he said... “When one person put up resistance they shot directly around their feet to scare them. Other times they have just killed people on the spot.”.. For all the dangers, though, in Syria’s depressed economy neither Abed nor Mohammed can afford to give up work... Beirut,Lebanon -The Telegraph/National Post, by Ruth Sherlock -February 2, 2015:

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