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.