( dpa ) - Every morning Fares leaves his house for the nearby mosque to say his dawn prayers.
When he returns he expects his wife and two sons to have finished their own prayers and got ready to recite verses from the Koran until it's time to leave for work and school.
Fares is a civil servant at a government department. His sons are in grades seven and eight. His wife does not go out to work because Fares believes house chores are a woman's only work.
However, things have not always been the same. Twenty years ago, Fares's wife was like any modern woman anywhere in the world. She wore jeans, mixed with young men and smoked in the college cafeteria.
Her fiance, now husband, Fares divided his time as a student between intellectual discussions about the dictatorship of the proletariat and women's empowerment and attending cultural events.
The case of Fares's family is not an exception. Many of Syria's leftist intellectuals of the 1970s and 1980s have switched to a traditional way of life with religion at its centre.
Some even overindulge in an exaggerated display of religiosity as they reassess their lives after years of striding away from religion.
The climate of religiosity is re-emerging, especially in Syria's towns and the countryside, which were previously hubs for young people following Marxism and the secular ideologies of the ruling Baath Party.
Most of these youths are now doctors, engineers and teachers, who have given up leftist ideas because they no longer fit in an increasingly traditional, religious society.
Even Syria's relatively liberal big cities are seeing a similar trend.
Ali Hasan, a formerly-liberal journalist from Damascus, too is becoming religious.
"I am observing all the Islamic rituals, but without exaggeration. I've given up drinking alcohol when I am with friends," Hasan says.
His colleague, Omar, goes as far as not attending any occasion at which alcohol might be served or where there is "unnecessary" mingling between ladies and gents.
Alcohol in Damascus is a different story. Since the city's municipality forced the last city centre tavern, Freddy Bar, to close, the heart of the Syrian capital has dried up.
Syrians now cannot have a drink except in hotels or in a limited number of restaurants that still reluctantly serve alcohol with food.
None of the new gigantic restaurants along the Airport Road serve alcohol.
"The shift to religiosity may have resulted from the fact that the leap into modernity of the past century was not authentic but fabricated," Syrian novelist Khaled Khalifeh says.
Louay Hussein, a Syrian writer and publisher, thinks that increasing religiosity, including the wearing of the headscarf, separation between the sexes and religious narrow-mindedness, is promoted by influential people in the country.
"Civil and secular people," Hasan says, "must play a role in spreading enlightenment and pushing principles of equality forward."
Since the 1970s the Syrian government has encouraged what it describes as "non-politicized moderate Islam" to create a wide popular base and not to be accused of hostility to Islam - the majority religion in Syria.
The government has also encouraged the building of mosques and religious schools teaching the Koran and Islamic theology.
Syrian analysts attribute the so-called Islamic Awakening to hard economic conditions manifesting themselves in rampant unemployment and the widening gap between rich and poor.
But Khalifeh says that what is happening in Syria cannot be separated from the surge of Islamic fundamentalism across the Arab world and elsewhere.
"The collapse of the former Soviet Union," Khalefeh says, "has given a push to the rise of fundamentalism since Marxism as an alternative political ideology became defunct."