Disruptions in flour and gas deliveries have created bottlenecks that managers cannot solve. Customers jockey for position, a scene reminiscent of a Texas cattle auction.
But when a fighter from the Free Syrian Army barges into the crowd, people around him scatter like bowling pins.
As he darts to the head of the line, men who have been waiting for more than four hours jeer. “What makes them so special?” asks Muhammad Sharqi, also in line. “They cause our suffering and now get to exploit it for their own ends?”