Aleppo

All posts tagged Aleppo

Good Friday, Aleppo. Photo: Kantasar/The Aleppo Project
Good Friday 2016. Aleppo. Photo: Kantsasar.

A Mother Mourns the Last Exodus

by Rami Aboud on March 29, 2016

I am the mourning mother, and who comforts her,” a deep rhyme echoes in the sky of Aleppo every year.

It is the heavenly voice of the Levantine singer Fairuz that awakens Christian neighborhoods of the city. Mothers are awake earlier than usual; they open the doors to their balconies and the contest begins on whose Fairuz is loudest. It is Good Friday, one of the most important days in the Aleppian Christian calendar. Shop keepers and hair dressers are packed; working in harmony with the rhymes that mix with the fragrance of the Bakhur incense. In the afternoon, tens of thousands of Christians join a pilgrimage to the nearly forty churches of Aleppo. The old town, however, gets the largest number of pilgrims. Farhat Square in al-Jdaydeh quarter puts on its special attire. The sounds of people, peddlers and boy scout brass bands are a symphony embedded in the memory of Aleppians. The four churches that overlook the square remind Christians of their ancient roots in the city. The medieval limestone holds the memory of surviving the Mongol slaughter when Timur Lank invaded Aleppo six hundred years ago.

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Rami AboudA Mother Mourns the Last Exodus

Cocktail St.

by Armenak Tokmajyan on March 9, 2016

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Now when I hear the word cocktail what comes to my mind is a drink in which the bartender skilfully brings different components together to create a new concoction.  The word had a different meaning in Aleppo.  You could get a normal cocktail, alcoholic or non-alcoholic, in fancy bars in the city but they were not as good as what we thought of as real cocktails.

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Armenak TokmajyanCocktail St.
Bab as-Salameh Border Crossing. Photo: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Aleppo Weekly February 1-7

by The Aleppo Project on February 9, 2016

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After months of ‘dynamic stalemate,’ the military situation to the north of Aleppo city shifted dramatically over the past few weeks. Government and allied forces took control of strategic towns on the Aleppo-Gaziantep road, disconnecting eastern Aleppo city from the northern countryside and Turkey. The city is still connected with Turkey through the Bab al-Hawa border crossing in the western part of Idlib province.

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The Aleppo ProjectAleppo Weekly February 1-7
So you think you will return to Aleppo?

Data Snapshot

by The Aleppo Project on February 4, 2016

We know that many Syrians who have been forced from their homes are passionate about their country and are already playing a role in its future. When refugees and people who were forced to leave eventually return home, they often suffer a second displacement when they are pushed aside by reconstruction processes that ignore their needs and plans. By gathering information from as wide a range of people as possible, we hope to challenge many of the assumptions about how reconstruction should be managed.

In late 2014 and early 2015 we surveyed 1001 people. One of the questions we asked everyone was, “Do you think you will return to Aleppo?”

  • 72 per cent said “Yes.” 28 per cent said “No.”
  • This was generally true whether someone was male or female, had children, owned real estate, or his/her house had been damaged or destroyed.
  • It did not hold true for education levels. If someone had at least some post-secondary education, he or she appeared 14 per cent less likely to return to Aleppo than someone without any post-secondary education.

Reconstruction plans should carefully consider who will return to Aleppo when the fighting stops.  If, as is likely, the most vulnerable return first, and those with higher levels of education and more financial resources return much later, or not at all, the Aleppo of tomorrow will look very different than the Aleppo of yesterday.

To download the report, click here.

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The Aleppo ProjectData Snapshot

Easy Like Friday Morning

by Armenak Tokmajyan on January 27, 2016

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For most people in a Muslim-majority country like Syria, Friday is a day of rest. Shops and cafes mostly close until the afternoon when Friday prayers are over and then business builds only slowly towards the evening rush. For many young Aleppians, it was meant to be a lazy morning. For me, an Armenian, I had to wake up early to go to school. But Friday mornings will always make me think of three things: a breakfast of the best ful in the world, delicious Syrian sweets – Shuebiyat or Zlebyeh — and drinking coffee by Aleppo’s citadel.

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Armenak TokmajyanEasy Like Friday Morning

“For Aleppo”

by The Aleppo Project on January 6, 2016

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This is a wonderful piece composed by Gábor Berkó, a young Hungarian composer, and performed by Budapest- based musicians on the day The Aleppo Project was officially launched. The artists did this work on a voluntary basis to demonstrate their solidarity with Syrians who live the brutal war in Syria on a daily basis. While the music video clearly shows the destruction and pain brought to Aleppo by the fighting, it also remembers the good days from the past and ends on a hopeful note.

However far Budapest seems from Aleppo and however bad Hungary’s image may appear nowadays in context of the Refugee Crisis, we should also remember that there are many warmhearted people here who think about and feel others’ suffering.

This music and video are dedicated to one of the world’s oldest continuously inhabited cities – Aleppo.

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The Aleppo Project“For Aleppo”

Two Prophets’ Birthdays

by AlHakam Shaar on December 24, 2015

Today falls between two important birthdays for Syrians.

Yesterday was Eid ul-Mawlid an-Nabawi – Prophet Muhammad’s birthday. There is no consensus among religious scholars about the permissibility of observing it, or indeed about which specific day it is, but it is often celebrated across the Islamic World on the 12th day of the third month of the lunar Hijri Calendar. Most Aleppian Muslims celebrate the day with passion. The Souq, now burned, used to be decorated with small, often green, banners bearing prayers and praise for the prophet. Mawlids – sufi chanting sessions – are held in mosques and other public and private places. At homes, people make and eat traditional desserts. My mum cooks mamouniyyeh, and my father would send me or one of my brothers to buy sheybiyat, sweet pastry stuffed with walnuts or pistachio.

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AlHakam ShaarTwo Prophets’ Birthdays

Restoring Public Services to Aleppo—Our first data snapshot

by The Aleppo Project on December 18, 2015

We know that many Syrians who have been forced from their homes are passionate about their country and are already playing a role in its future. When refugees and people who were forced to leave eventually return home, they often suffer a second displacement when they are pushed aside by reconstruction processes that ignore their needs and plans. By gathering information from as wide a range of people as possible, we hope to challenge many of the assumptions about how reconstruction should be managed.

Over the next several months, we will post data snapshots highlighting different visions for Aleppo’s future. Our first snapshot is about restoring public services to rebel-held areas of the city.

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The Aleppo ProjectRestoring Public Services to Aleppo—Our first data snapshot