In an interview with Australian national radio, Aleppo Project fellow AlHakam Shaar said the return of resident displaced from the city is an important condition for a successful reconstruction of Aleppo.
Images showing recent severe destruction in Raqqa, following the expulsion of the Islamic state bring to memory the severe destruction Homs and Aleppo faced and still face. The defeat of the Islamic State in Raqqa brings the conflict in Syria closer to an end, but this on its own is not enough. The end of the fight in Raqqa and Deir Azzor marks the end of intense fights in these cities. Without a process of reconciliation, sustainable peace building, and inclusion, these cities would suffer from a permanent division, not only in terms of the physical structure but also in terms of its demography.
Although Aleppo had a flimsy presence of the Islamic state, who were driven out of Aleppo by rebel groups in January 2014, the city remained divided between east and west for four years. This division was geographical and structural bearing in mind the discrepancy of destruction and population fleeing both parts of the city witnessed. This discrepancy is also translated into differences in infrastructure functionality, and services provision. The expulsion of the Islamic state did not stop the war in Aleppo; on the contrary, the bombings on the city reached their ultimate spike by the end of the conflict in 2016. Additionally, Aleppians who fled the eastern part of the city due to the heavy damage and bombing remain afraid to get back to their homes in Aleppo. Besides the dysfunctionality of their houses, these people are afraid of being persecuted by the regime, making a decision to get back to their homes impossible.
To listen to the interview, please click here.