When the drought in Syria started in 2008, the United Nations issued an appeal for funding for food aid for the many farmers whose crops had failed and animals had either been sold or died. In August the next year, with the drought getting worse and lasting longer than any other on record, another international appeal for help was announced. By the end of 2009, it had raised just 14 percent of what was needed.
“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.