When Sarajevo emerged from four years of siege and shelling, the city was almost derelict. Much of its housing had been destroyed and its historic buildings damaged. Only about a fifth of its water system and power supply still worked. Tens of thousands of people had fled and its centuries old history as a cosmopolitan multi-ethnic, multi-faith city was over.
“We liberated the rural parts of Aleppo province. We waited and waited for Aleppo City to rise, and it didn’t. We couldn’t rely on them to do it for themselves so we had to bring the revolution to them.” Those were the words in July 2012 of Abu Hashish, a commander from a village in the country near Aleppo. The conflict had indeed spread from the Idleb countryside to northern Aleppo in the early part of the year but only reached the city in July.