As the peaceful uprisings that began in March 2011 morphed into a devastating civil war, once self-indulgent Damascus residents found themselves trading their sweets for basic groceries and heating fuel, whose prices have skyrocketed. (..) On Friday, the authorities raised the price of diesel by 40 percent per liter to 35 Syrian pounds ($0.49). In the freezing winter, its value on the black market has shot up to 115 pounds ($1.62) a liter. (..) Like its pastries, the spirit of the capital has waned. Scores of factories have closed, electricity is in short supply and residents shiver at home because of a lack of heating oil.