“The battle for Aleppo will end this stalemate,” Syrian rebel commander Abdulkader Saleh told reporters at a news conference in Istanbul in September of 2012. “They [the Syrian regime] are bombing us with jets. We will solve this by destroying airports and air bases.” The Syrian rebels were confident of success, seventy percent of Syria’s largest city was under their control.
Before the rebellion began in 2011 against Bashar al-Assad, Aleppo was a center of Syrian culture and history. With its towering ancient citadel, it’s medieval romantic gates, old shops with wooden panels, tourists enjoyed its welcoming atmosphere. You “could sit in the open-air cafes below the walls and admire the towering gateways,” recalled the Guardian’s Jonathan Steele in 2015. Even after the city became a battleground writers remarked that the cafes were still full of people and normal life, as much as it could be, survived.
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