A Syrian woman who fled her home because of Syria's civil war prepares a meal in the kitchen of the Kertaj Hotel in Damascus, Syria, Aug. 25, 2013.
Thousands of Syrians have taken refuge in the capital from fighting around their hometowns.
The Kertaj is one of a number of cheap hotels full of displaced families around Damascus' Marjeh Square. Around a dozen families have been living in the Kertaj for months and say it has become like a home to them.
A Syrian woman who fled her home because of the civil war prepares a meal in the kitchen at the Kertaj Hotel as her child looks at the camera, Aug. 25, 2013.
Once total strangers hailing from far-flung parts of the countryside around Damascus, the families living in the Kertaj have created a sort of communal family in the hotel's cramped quarters. They all live on the third floor, and the wives cook together in the kitchen of the restaurant on the top floor, to which the owner has given them free rein. Their kids play together, dashing around the hallways and up and down the narrow staircase. The husbands - those who still have jobs - come back in the evening and play backgammon together in the restaurant, where the TV is.
Children whose families fled their homes because of the war play at the Kertaj Hotel in Damascus, Aug. 25, 2013.
Nearly 5 million people around this country of 23 million have been driven from their homes as regime forces and rebels battle in the 2.5-year civil war. Around 2 million of those have fled abroad. The rest are scattered inside Syria, taking refuge wherever seems safe.
A girl whose family fled their home runs water for drinking in the kitchen of the Kertaj Hotel, Aug. 25, 2013.
A Syrian child watches as his mother, who fled her home because of the war, prepares a meal in the kitchen at the Kertaj Hotel, Aug. 25, 2013.
A Syrian youth prepares tea in the kitchen of the Kertaj Hotel, Aug. 25, 2013.
Children whose families fled their homes because of the war pose at the Kertaj Hotel, Aug. 25, 2013.
Room keys are displayed in the reception area of another Damascus hotel, as a Syrian displaced woman and her child come down the stairs, Sept. 3, 2013.
People walk past cheap hotels in the Marje district of Damascus, Sept. 3, 2013. Displaced Syrians have become the new "tourists" in the area.
People talk near the reception area of a hotel in Damascus, Sept. 3, 2013.
An employee works at the reception desk of a Damascus hotel that is housing displaced Syrians, Sept. 3, 2013.
Displaced Syrians chat in a Damascus hotel room where they are now staying, Sept. 3, 2013.
Displaced children stand on the balcony of a Damascus hotel, Sept. 3, 2013.