BEIRUT, Lebanon — Every morning, at the dawn call to prayer, women and children move silently from the Damascus suburb of Douma to the surrounding farm fields, seeking safety from the day’s bombardments by the Syrian government.

The walk is part of a surreal routine described by the fraction of Douma’s residents who remain: shopping on half-demolished streets, scavenging wild greens, carrying out mass burials. But not even the fields are safe; recently, medics said, bombs killed two families there — 10 people, including seven children.

As crowds of Syrians transfix the world with their flight to Europe, this kind of life is one of the many nightmares they are fleeing. They leave behind increasingly empty neighborhoods — from the Damascus suburbs to the northern city of Aleppo — that testify to the scale of their exodus.

Such bombardments have been going on for years in insurgent-held areas like Douma, one of the first areas to revolt against the government in 2011. And yet, the situation can still get worse. The past month in Douma made that clear.

Government forces began a barrage even more intense than usual, using not only the artillery shells that Douma has come to expect, but also airstrikes. Perhaps four out of five residents had already fled what was once a bustling community of around half a million, and emergency workers say the new bombings drove out thousands more.