Aleppo (Halab (حلب is the oldest and largest city in Syria that was once a major commercial and trading center during the Ottoman Empire. In 1986, the old city of Aleppo was declared as the world heritage site. But in July 2012, part of the Syrian civil war between Syrian government forces and rebel groups that started in March 2011, destroyed Aleppo. In late 2014 and early 2015, Aleppo citizens in rebel held regions of the city were subjected to continuous attacks and bombing. Common people of older ages and locales encounter serious difficulties and dangers in their everyday lives, as their city collapses around them.
The following Al-Jazeera special reveals the daily lives of Aleppo citizens living in constant conflict and devastation. Aleppo citizens deeply feel its destruction because it was once an extremely beautiful city with majestic architecture and vibrant and sophisticated culture.
Today, there is nothing in Aleppo but only horrifically destroyed empty streets, markets and concrete skeletons of residential buildings. We can see a shop owner Yousaf Salama, standing in front of his shop and saying with heartbreaking sadness “Oh my Shop, I worked so hard to build it”. A poet is singing with tear-jerking grief while walking on the rubble of demolished buildings and destroyed empty homes:
“I’m still patient despite the injustice of this life.
You went away but your love still lives in my heart.
Oh my beloved ones, no one can cure my heart but you.
You taught me how to cry.
Why didn’t you teach me how to smile?
Why didn’t you teach me how to love?”