Before the Syrian Civil War kicked off back in 2011, the Old City of Aleppo was an unknown beauty to the Western hemisphere. The landscapes were magnificent, the buildings were tall and the mosques were done with such dedication and detail that it would be hard to believe that it could ever be torn down. But it was, and that same place that so many people called home and found comfort in, and that the UNESCO once thought qualified for its World Heritage List seems inhabitable now, and the UNESCO now cites it (along with the other five Syrian properties listed) as a property “in danger“.
In December of 2016, the Battle of Aleppo officially finished, taking with it an estimated number of 31,183 people deceased as reported by The Violations Documentation Centre in Syria. Furthermore, sixty percent of the city has been severely damaged, and thirty percent of it, completely destroyed. Although millions of people were forced to flee Syria, some of them are still there trying to get their life back together while mourning those who did not make it. But is it possible to make a city rise completely from the ground? On July 25, the first concert ever in six years was host in the city’s citadel. The constant sound of gun fires and shells was replaced by the harmonious sound of Shadi Jamil’s voice, who sang traditional music in a simple event that symbolized something much bigger: the survival and unity of the people from Aleppo.
On July 25, the first concert ever in six years was host in the city’s citadel. The constant sound of gun fires and shells was replaced by the harmonious sound of Shadi Jamil’s voice, who sang traditional music in a simple event that symbolized something much bigger: the survival and unity of the people from Aleppo.
“I felt proud of the huge number of people, it’s a happiness that I don’t give to anyone because I knew the love of people towards me. For me, the citadel is a symbol of our pride and history. We sing for the history. Today we sing in the Aleppo citadel that represents every honest Aleppo citizen,” said Jamil according to NRT
Another ongoing project by residents to help the city is to rebuild the Great Mosque of Aleppo, also known as Umayyad. This important piece of architecture was built at the beginning of the 8th century although it is believed that the current building was created around the 11th, and was destroyed in 2013. Their task is not an easy one, as some of the stones cannot be used again and they cannot work in certain places due to the great damage, but they are taking things step by step starting with the minaret, which is a tower where Muslims were called to pray five times a day by a muezzin.
“When Aleppo is rebuilt, it will be because of the love of its people. I have seen people in the destroyed streets putting chairs in front of their shops today, even though the shops have been destroyed. They gradually clean everything away. Aleppo will be rebuilt by its people. We need to see Aleppo again – all of it, because otherwise we will go on missing it.” said Mustafa Kurdi, a resident, to Independent.
It is undeniable that the conflict in Syria has not made the citizens of Aleppo give up or love their home any less, but instead, it has lit up a fire inside them that is helping them move on from the tragic things they have seen for many years and still see every day. It is a fact that the issues in the Middle East have not been spread to the Western hemisphere as much as they should have by the media and that most people are still trying to understand what happened, but there are many ways we can still help.
If you want to donate to help the people of Aleppo and Syria, you can do it via any of the following organizations:
- The Human Relief Foundation
- The Karam Foundation
- The United Nations Refugee Agency
- The Islamic Relief USA