The ruins of East Aleppo
Since the conflict began in 2011, the city of Aleppo has been a major battleground at great civilian cost. The battle of Aleppo, a tragedy that intensified in December 2016, saw people trapped under the rubble of collapsed buildings, families under siege without food or water and children killed in the streets with impunity. The world watched in horror as the people of Aleppo plunged deeper into crisis.
Today, the eastern side of Aleppo lies in ruins. Aleppo was the most populous governorate within Syria, with the city of Aleppo as its capital, situated in the east of the governorate. Inside the city, most buildings still standing are badly damaged, and popular tourist destinations like the historic Umayyad Mosque, the Shabha shopping mall and the 13th century Citadel of Aleppo are virtually unrecognisable.
A shattered city
BBC News reports that bulldozers have been working for over a month to clear pathways through the debris, but many streets are still impossible to access due to fallen rubble. Many buildings appear to be on the brink of collapse.
Despite the devastation, the UN estimates that around 40,000 people have already moved back into the city. Humanitarian relief agencies have deposited water tanks in some of the streets, but without running water or electricity, there are some very difficult months ahead for Syria families.
Those who have returned to the ruined city are braving darkness and cold. Many homes have no glass left in the windows and there is uncertainty as to where people are finding food.
Suffering in the camps
Life is scarcely better in the camps for Internally Displaced Persons scattered on the outskirts of the city. Families are huddling in flimsy nylon tents that offer little protection from freezing temperatures, high winds, rain and snow. Fuel is very scarce and people burn whatever they can find to keep warm. The effects of constant cold and hunger are particularly dangerous for young children, pregnant women and the elderly.
Human Appeal is working in camps outside the city of Aleppo, providing desperate families with cooked meals, clean water and warm blankets. We are able to continue this life-saving work with your generous support.
The situation in Aleppo is undeniably precarious for everyone who has decided to return there. With no diplomatic solution to the conflict in sight, the people of Syria face a frightening and uncertain future.Donate now