Aleppo has seen widespread damage and destruction during the Syrian civil war and in clashes with ISIL militants. But as the situation improves, some residents are slowly starting to move back into what’s left of their homes, trying to pick up their former lives.
CGTN’s Xu Dezhi met some of them.
Life achieving some normality in Syrian city of AleppoAleppo has seen widespread damage and destruction during the Syrian civil war and in clashes with ISIL militants. But as the situation improves, some residents are slowly starting to move back into what's left of their homes, trying to pick up their former lives.
The ancient city of Aleppo, a UNESCO World Heritage site, was badly damaged during the Syrian Civil War, with ruins littering the cityscape. But life is slowly starting to return to this bleak vista.
The Citadel, located in the center of the old town, was one of the strongest fortresses for the Syrian army during the war. Now it has reverted to its former use – a popular tourist site. As a major symbol of Aleppo, this is the place to come for selfies and snapshots.
The ground near the Citadel used to be a very popular place for local people to gather and chat. It’s been several months since the Syrian government announced it had taken full control of the city and people are trying to restore the peaceful life they used to have there.
Because of the destruction, the road to the Citadel has changed greatly. Though it’s tricky to access, locals are happy to reach the site and get a closer look after years away.
“This is my first time here in six years. I have not seen this in six years. We miss the citadel and this scenery. Actually, I managed to find the road even though this area is all changed,” said one visitor.
“I’ve come here today to see the Citadel. It is the first time since the war broke out. We now live a much more comfortable life and don’t worry about war. Life is easier now so we’ve come to see the citadel,” added another.
With the growing crowds come the street vendors, selling snacks, candies and coffee. They hope more people will mean more business.
“Once I see more people here, I am happier because more people means I’ll sell more. Now I come here at eight in the morning and go home after everyone leaves. People usually leave at four pm but now they start to spend more time here,” said one street vendor.
The street vendors are perhaps more sensitive to the changes to this area than the carefree crowds of visitors.
“I was always wondering if I would live long enough to see this place again. Our house was near this area and we could not get here at all during the war. Everything around here has been destroyed. There was a hotel, a mosque. Tunnels were dug under all these places and detonated” reported another street vendor.
It will take time, money and effort to restore the city of Aleppo to its former glory. But for many locals, their inner reconstruction has already begun.