Last week, while the bombing of Aleppo intensified, three brothers went out to play. They ended up at the Al Quds hospital, where a volunteer was filming the doctors at work. Published by Channel 4 News on 8 June.
One of the greatest Goddesses of Mesopotamian mythology, Inanna’s descent to the underworld, her death and miraculous revival with the help of the Gods, share commonalities with the ongoing tragedy in Aleppo and Syria. When passing the seven gates of the underworld, Inanna was stripped of her clothes, which symbolized her power. Similarly, Aleppo and Syria have been stripped of their economic, political and human power during the past five years. While Inanna made it back to the heavens and was revived with the aid of the Gods, Aleppo and Syria still wait for the resolution of this devastating conflict.
The Aleppo Project Fellow Armenak Tokmajyan studies the development of the armed conflict in Aleppo, the evolution of armed groups and government forces, and their military tactics and strategies. The timeline analyzes the Geneva Peace Process and its implications on the ground. The report also sheds light on the humanitarian situation in the divided city. The extensive report includes 35 original maps designed by the author.
The report will be updated at the beginning of every month.
The relentless pummelling of Sheikh Maqsoud has devastated the lives of civilians in the area. A wide array of armed groups from the Fatah Halab coalition has launched what appear to be repeated indiscriminate attacks that may amount to war crimes,” Magdalena Mughrabi, Amnesty International.
The last two weeks of April 2016 will have sealed the connection between Aleppo and war for many decades to come. Just as the words Beirut and car bomb are inextricably linked, so will be Aleppo and barrel bomb. Certain places become tied to the pitiless nature of war: Hiroshima, Dresden, Biafra, Sarajevo, Stalingrad, Hue. And now Aleppo.
Aleppo’s war will be remembered for the immediacy with which the world has seen its horrors. No longer does it take time for us to know about the bombing of the Al Quds Hospital as it is live tweeted. Just hours later it was possible to see chilling images of Dr. Mohammad Massim Maaz, the last pediatrician at work in eastern Aleppo, walking between wards just before the government killed him in an airstrike.
After a relative calm, an escalation looms on the frontier. The rebels are getting ready to confront any possible siege of Aleppo while tensions between Jabhet an-Nusra and the regime escalate south of Aleppo. The Syrian Prime Minister Wael Halaqi’s announcement that the government plans to liberate Aleppo with the help of the Russian Air Force presages more violence. It also follows several warnings from the speaker of the High Negotiations Committee Bassma Kodmani that the ceasefire is about to collapse. The High Negotiations Committee suspended its participation in the Geneva talks to protest against the escalation on the ground. De Mistura, who is scheduled to brief the Security Council on April 27, recently insisted that the ceasefire was still 70 per cent holding. The facts on the ground have changed a lot in a short time. On April 26, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon told reporters in Vienna he was “deeply concerned about developments on the ground.” Will the ceasefire fall apart in Aleppo?
We need the help of all Aleppians who can use this site. Each person who lived in the city has their own maps of Aleppo in their heads. These might be places you lived, went to school, worked or visited family. They might be places that you remember with a light heart — cafes where you spent time with friends, parks where you played with your children, a quiet spot for contemplation amid the noise of a busy city. They might now be places of sadness as the city has been so damaged by war. We want to know about your Aleppo so that we can document not just the buildings and streets but the meaning of the city to its residents and its past life.
Ordinary Syrian people are going to extraordinary lengths, risking everything to protect their heritage, despite the horror that has engulfed their country. For them, it is not a question of people or stones. The story of the people is embedded in those stones, a crafted story stretching back millennia. Saving that story is saving Syria. Dr. Emma Cunliffe. Research Associate, Oxford University.