A tale of two cities in Aleppo: Rubble on one side, packed restaurants on the other. Five years of conflict have torn Syria apart. And nowhere is that more stark than in its most populous city, Aleppo, where front lines carve through neighborhoods and slice it in two. Loveday Morris, The Washington Post
UNICEF profiled Aleppian 12 year-old Saja, a symbol of courage amid Syria’s brutal conflict. She has lost many of her friends – and was seriously injured herself. But her determination to get an education is as strong as ever.
“I report what must be told, what will not be forgotten,” Photojournalist Ali Mustafa (1984-2014)
Syria: Faces of Survival and Resilience – The Photography of Ali Mustafa exhibition is being held at the Beit Zatoun Cultural Center in Toronto. The Toronto-based freelance photojournalist, activist, and writer, was killed in Aleppo along with seven others on March 9, 2014, in an aerial bombing carried out by the Syrian government. With this exhibit, his [friends and family] honour “Ali’s self-declared commitment to using the art of photography to put a spotlight on the rarely covered human side of war.” In reflecting on Mustafa’s work, his friend and exhibition organizer Donya Ziaee told the Toronto Star: “He didn’t just do journalism or photojournalism as a matter of curiosity or vocation…I think it’s really telling the way he died…He had his camera on him but the reason he died because he was helping the White Helmets, a civilian rescue team, dig people out of the rubble after a barrel bomb had been dropped. And then they were hit by a second barrel bomb. That really describes the way Ali worked.”
LIFE IN THE CITY
End of first term exams at the (Free) University of Aleppo in opposition-held Aleppo and Idlib provinces. After long delays, the university was launched in February this year with the same name and organizational structure as the University of Aleppo in government-held western Aleppo. We note that it appears men and women took their exams in separate locations. Public high schools in and Aleppo have historically been single sex, but male and female students studied and took exams together at universities.
The Chaldean bishop of Aleppo, Antoine Audo, told VOA that a political agreement imposed by external or foreign powers would not end Syria’s five-year-long civil war. He said that Christians and Muslims had lived together for centuries, but extremists have destroyed the peaceful co-existence by deliberately turning the Syrian conflict into a religious and ethnic war.
Armenian luxury hotel in Aleppo now houses refugees. The Baron Hotel was once one of Syria’s grandest and most stylish hotels, a legend in itself due to its high profile guests like Lawrence of Arabia, Charles de Gaulle and Agatha Christie. Since the war came to Aleppo in 2012, there have been no paying guests and the once-glamorous building is losing its charm.
Syria war: ‘Anyone who shows the truth is an enemy.‘ “As you see… [Aleppo] is wounded, it is bleeding, but it is still very lively, it is still very touching.” Photographer Ammar Abd Rabbo, who recently opened an exhibition in Doha, spoke to AlJazeera about documenting the Syrian war and everyday life in the war-torn city of Aleppo.
CULTURAL HERITAGE AND ART
Syria Deeply looked back at some of the history and evolution of the country’s revolutionary art over the past five years of war, including political graffiti, digital art and other mediums that have become part of the language and culture of the uprising.
Association for the Protection of Syrian Archaeology (APSA) video of Russian/regime bombardment of the historical site of Palmyra. Both the site and town are currently under ISIS control. Regime and allied forces have launched a campaign to regain control of the desert region.
Diala Brisly: Paintings of hope for Syria’s children. Artist Diala Brisly fled Syria in 2013. She now lives in Beirut but she’s well known inside Syria for her work on a children’s magazine that, amazingly, is still printed in Aleppo and distributed inside Syria. BBC published her story in her own words, followed by some examples of her work.