With its comfy sofas and shelves loaded with dictionaries, the living room in Zabadani did not look like the average newsroom. But Rania, who was tapping away on her laptop while calmly but firmly brushing away calls and visitors, made for a fierce editor.

It was a Saturday morning and less than 24 hours before the deadline for Oxygen, the local revolutionary newspaper in this quiet farming town in the hills north-west of Damascus. Rania was putting the finishing touches to a piece about the UN observers in Syria.

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