Quotes: US MENA   Enter Symbol: NewsLetter: Search: advanced

Aleppo: Desperation in the darkness  Join our daily free Newsletter

MENAFN - Arab News - 24/01/2013

No. of Ratings : 0
Add to Mixx!


(MENAFN - Arab News) After about 10 days here, the nightly shelling no longer upsets sleep cycles. The humming throbs have a rhythmic precision much like counting sheep.

Syria's largest city has been reduced to a sprawling battlefield. Quiet neighborhoods where kids once played soccer are now silent front lines no one dares cross. The unfortunate quarters bear the urban scars of this war - heaps of rubble. Fighters rather than bureaucrats are the new power brokers. They bulldoze through the streets, commandeering the supplies they need to fuel a war with no end in sight.

Beyond the constant shelling and strafing lie the real hardships of this war - the shortages of basic goods and the lack of electricity and heat. For more than a month residents have been unable to turn on the lights at night. Instead they sit in darkness that is only disturbed by the flickering of oil lamps. Prices for heating oil have soared, leaving the poor to scrounge for wood to build nightly fires. Disruptions in flour distribution have forced people to stand in line for six hours to buy a bag of bread.

For the foreigner, the situation is only marginally better. Though the cost of bread at corner markets is several times more expensive than the government subsidized rate, the difference is negligible for a Westerner. The price of meat has quadrupled at hole in the wall shwarma stands, but sandwiches are still cheaper than a McDonald's Big Mac.

Instead it is the Spartan living conditions that take their toll. Journalists live with fighters in warehouses and bunkers. From the cramped living quarters to the uncomfortable nightly accoutrements, the front lines lack the charm of the Four Seasons. Scratchy wool blankets lack the smoothness of American made comforters. With no heat, fighters huddle together for warmth. Their foul body odor accumulated from weeks without showers takes just as long to become accustomed to. The constant shuffling in and out of fighters coming off guard duty leaves little time for uninterrupted sleep.

Few sleep much in Aleppo. From the need to feed dying fires perpetual supplies of wood to having to stand in line at night for bread, there is always something keeping Syrians from making it to their beds. "Mostly I worry," says Anwar Ibrad. "Where will the next gas canister come from. Will the bread run out," the 45-year-old carpenter explains. It has been three months since Ibrad last worked. The owners of his woodshop fled to Turkey, shuttering its doors. Since then Ibrad has exhausted his savings, forcing him to borrow from friends to make ends meet.

Ibrad's story is a common one in Aleppo. With soaring prices and no work, people have depleted the wads of cash they stored in their mattresses. They have sold off their heirlooms. Yet they still find it difficult to marshal a few quarters to buy a tank of gas. "I have not had heating oil for two weeks," Muhammad Jalo explains. "I just cannot afford to spend the money I need for food on it. We get wood now," the 53-year-old van driver says.

Contact with the outside world is minimal. The cellular networks rarely function, leaving word of mouth the preferred method of communication. Internet is a dream that only the visiting Westerner can afford to make a reality. Activist networks using cutting edge satellite systems skirt the regime's blockade. But even access to these networks is a challenge. The generators that power them inevitably break down, disrupting communication for hours.

In Syria nothing is routine, not even a drive in the countryside. Isolated regime bases dot rural areas, transforming a 10-minute journey into a three-hour adventure through back roads and village fields. The constant bouncing and jarring leaves a soreness that only seems to end when the next day's trip begins. And while some are more comfortable, they are by no means safer. The road into Aleppo passes within distant eyesight of the Minagh Air Base, a regime stronghold surrounded by rebel fortifications. Soldiers there occasionally shell the road simply because they can.

In Syria there is no logic to events and actions. War has destroyed a population that merely wants an end to their nightmare. For unlike the Westerner who can check out any time he likes, Syrians can never leave.


  MENA News Headlines
Apr 23 2014Omantel launches service package for youth ,MENAFN
(MENAFN) Omantel announced launching 'Ozone' plan, a new package designed especially for the youth. This comes with the company"s constant efforts to enhance the communication needs of its customers, ...

Apr 23 2014Dh154 billion for Arabtec projects ,Khaleej Times
(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Arabtec will spend dh140 billion on building one million low-cost houses in egypt and dh14 billion on five mixed-use residential projects in abu dhabi and dubai its chief ...

Apr 23 2014?Titli? makers excited about Cannes selection ,Khaleej Times
(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) The movie about the badlands of delhi?s dystopic underbelly will be in competition as part of the un certain regard section of the 67th cannes film gala to be held may ...

Apr 23 2014Saudi- Yaroub Bashraheel: In search of peace ... underwater ,Arab News
(MENAFN - Arab News) You've heard of diving snorkeling and other water activities but rarely has anyone heard of free-diving. it's a form of diving underwater without the aid of any breathing ...

Apr 23 2014Saudi- Schneider highlights intelligent health care solutions at forum ,Arab News
(MENAFN - Arab News) Schneider electric a global specialist in energy management is set to showcase its leadership in intelligent health care solutions at the second saudi forum for planning and ...

Apr 23 2014Saudi- Divorcees can seek housing ,Arab News
(MENAFN - Arab News) The kingdom will accept applications from saudi divorced women and widows for financial and housing support said justice minister muhammad al-issa.al-issa called on applicants ...

Apr 23 2014Saudi- New passport office opens at Red Sea Mall ,Arab News
(MENAFN - Arab News) The passport department has opened a new office for citizens and residents at the red sea mall.gen. abdul rahman bin abdullah al-tuwairki deputy director general of the ...

Apr 23 2014Kowait- Police deportation powers curbed ,Arab Times
(MENAFN - Arab Times) Kuwait city april 3 (afp): kuwaiti police will no longer be able to deport expatriates without interior ministry approval under new rules published thursday after officers ...

Apr 23 2014Kowait- Amiri Diwan urges all off tape case ,Arab Times
(MENAFN - Arab Times)  kuwait city april 9 (agencies): the amiri diwan has called on everybody to steer clear of the controversial tape issue and let the public prosecution take the necessary ...

Apr 23 2014Saudi Savola Group revenue up 43 pct in Q1 ,MENAFN
(MENAFN) Saudi Arabia's Savola Group registered a 43 percent increase in profits in the first quarter, well over expectations of analysts, Arabian Business reported. According to a statement to ...

Apr 23 2014Dewa and GE explore collaboration opportunities ,Khaleej Times
(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Saeed mohammed al tayer managing director and chief executive officer of the dubai electricity and water authority (dewa) recently received a ge delegation to explore ...

Apr 23 2014Local international companies come out in force ,Khaleej Times
(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Cityscape abu dhabi has started showing stronger interest from property developers who have showcased their upcoming projects. the three-day realty show was opened by ...

Apr 23 2014Tamouh steps up activity on projects ,Khaleej Times
(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Abu dhabi-based real-estate developer tamouh has scaled up construction activity on all of its announced reem island projects to meet the rising demand for prime spaces in ...

Apr 23 2014Here?s your chance to share screen space with SRK ,Khaleej Times
(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Groupon india has joined hands with srk?s red chillies entertainment to give fans a chance to feature with the superstar in his upcoming film ?happy new year?. if you ...

Apr 23 2014ADCB NIC in Dh950 million deal ,Khaleej Times
(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Abu dhabi commercial bank or adcb this week inked a dh950 million term facility to provide national investment corporation or nic the developer of the breakwater area in ...

Apr 23 2014Saudi- Noha Al-Sharif — an expert in Islamic sculpture ,Arab News
(MENAFN - Arab News) Saudi sculptress noha al-sharif is known for her islamic inspired sculptures that reflect both religion and lifestyle. the concept of modern art attracted her to this medium ...

Apr 23 2014Kowait- New hospital to be ready by 2014 end ,Arab Times
(MENAFN - Arab Times) Kuwait city jan 14 (kuna): director of the 'mega projects 3' group at kuwait oil company (koc) yaqoub dashti said on tuesday that the new ahmadi hospital would be ready to ...

Apr 23 2014Gitex Shopper Spring 2014 to open doors today ,Khaleej Times
(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Gitex shopper spring 2014 is set to open doors today with best bargains on latest tech products along with millions of dirhams worth of prizes during the four-day ...

Apr 23 2014Saudi- ASUS showcases product series at Aramco Week ,Arab News
(MENAFN - Arab News) Asus described as the world's renowned consumer notebook vendor and producer of the 'world's best-selling motherboards" recently participated in aramco week and showcased a ...

Apr 23 2014Sale of Gate Towers penthouses launched ,Khaleej Times
(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Aldar properties has launched the sale of 21 exclusive duplex penthouse apartments at gate towers the penthouse collection in shams abu dhabi on al reem island. one of ...





Middle East North Africa - Financial Network

MENAFN News Market Data Countries Tools Section  

Middle East North Africa - Financial Network

Main News
News By Industry
News By Country
Marketwatch News
UPI News
Comtex News

IPO News
Islamic Finance News
Private Equity News

How-To Guides
Technology Section

Travel Section

Search News

Market Indices
Quotes & Charts

Global Indices
Arab Indices

US Markets Details


Oil & Energy

Currencies Cross Rates
Currencies Updates
Currency Converter

USA Stocks
Arab Stocks

Saudi Arabia 

Investment Game
Economic Calendar
Financial Glossary

Portfolio Tracker


Financial Calculators

RSS Feeds [XML]

Corporate Monitor


Real Estate
Submit Your Property

Arab Research
Buy a Research

Press Releases
Submit your PR

Join Newsletters

© 2000 menafn.com All Rights Reserved.  Terms of Service | Privacy Policy | Contact Us | Advertise | About MENAFN | Career Opportunities | Feedback | Help