It Took 5,000 Years to Build Aleppo—And Two Years to Destroy It
Syrian civil war devastates ancient city
by DAVID AXE and JUMA Al QASSIM
The city of Aleppo in northern Syria lies at the historical crossroads of the world’s greatest civilizations. Ruled in turn by the Hittites, Assyrians, Akkadians, Greeks, Romans, Umayyads, Ayyubids, Mameluks, Ottomans and Syrians, the city’s ancient center bears the imprint of each group. Its towers, churches and markets are architectural treasures.
But the Syrian civil war could erase everything. For two years Aleppo has been a battleground: rebels battling each other and the regime of Syrian Pres. Bashar Al Assad plus Al Assad’s allies from Iran and Lebanon. “The old city witnessed some of the conflict’s most brutal destruction,” the Syrian government reported to the U.N.
Photographer Juma Al Qassim slipped into the ancient city in late October. He found destruction. But mostly he found silence—a once teeming historic city emptied of life.
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