A civilian removes the rubble in front of a damaged shop after an airstrike in the rebel held al-Saleheen neighborhood of Aleppo
Learning how to survive on practically no food, with no electricity, while surrounded by snipers and targeted in airstrikes, has become a necessary part of daily life for those still inside the besieged Syrian city of Aleppo.
In an op-ed for The Washington Post, former University of Aleppo student Omair Shaaban described the measures residents have to take just to survive day-to-day in the city they’ve lived in their entire lives.
Those include living on the lower floors of buildings to survive “the many different kinds of airstrikes, shells, rockets, phosphorus bombs and cluster bombs”; stay off the street as much as possible; drive without headlights to avoid being targeted (if you own a car); sell any extra pasta and bread you may be given by aid organizations (“there is no meat, no milk, no yogurt”); and, above all, try to stay calm.
“Hearing bombs going off all the time is hard,” Shaaban wrote. “They’re so noisy — the sound alone could drive you crazy. So now I try to ignore it. If bombs detonate nearby, try to forget them, try to be calm. Go save your neighbors instead of panicking. If you aren’t calm, you will really go mad.”
Late last month, the Syrian government — backed by Russian warplanes — launched its most devastating bombing campaign on Aleppo since the civil war began more than five years ago.
“The destruction is so complete that it obliterates even a sense of time,” Michael Kimmelmanwrote in The New York Times recently.
A still image from video taken October 12, 2016 of a general view of the bomb damaged Old City area of Aleppo, Syria.