The Lost Children of Aleppo


Memorial for a city

Peace has come to Aleppo, the peace of the tomb. For 1617 days, people lived lives of bottomless dread as the worst fighting in Syria’s long-running civil war raged. The city has learned well the shameless games of man.

It’s a metropolis conditioned by division, the government held the West and rebels the East. Both have suffered. A roundabout patch of green in the West is choked with fresh graves, taking the overflow from the city’s cemeteries. The East is a chaos of shelled out buildings, their broken walls like ribs of a picked-at-beast.

Emerging from the wreckage of the East are the survivors. A quarter of a million people were trapped in the rebel-controlled area. They lived under intense bombardment from the air and terror on the ground. They had little food, water or medicine.

West Aleppo

“There are 35 percent of children who are “short stager” – very small for their age. It’s increasing. Last year it was 25 percent. It affects the under fives the most.”

East Aleppo

“We’d hide against the far wall under a piece of door,” said Aboud, an elderly man who stayed in Eastern Aleppo throughout. “You’d see the barrel bombs falling. The fire and dust from the explosion would come in through the door.”