Skip to main content

Aleppo's bloodiest week

An exclusive report from Aleppo, which is facing the worst bombing of Syria's war.
People run after what activists said was the return of government jet planes in Aleppo's al-Marja district December 23, 2013. More than 300 people have been killed in a week of air raids on the northern Syrian city of Aleppo and nearby towns by President Bashar al-Assad's forces, a monitoring group said on Monday. Many of the casualties, who included scores of women and children, were killed by so-called barrel bombs dropped from helicopters, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.   REUTERS/Saad AboB

ALEPPO, Syria — Aleppo has seen its bloodiest week since the Syrian conflict began more than 32 months ago. I’d even venture to say it's the bloodiest in its entire recent history, a grotesque carnival of mayhem, death and carnage, perpetrated against the hapless and helpless citizens of this long-suffering ancient city. A thousand waves of invaders and marauders this city must have seen as countless civilizations upon its land rose and fell, but this recent episode is of such ferocious barbarity and bloodletting that it surely must rank somewhere at the top of its list of all time historical traumas. 

Hunkered down in a friend’s basement in the commercial district of Jamilieh today, I counted eight explosions, all nearby. A few frantic phone calls and a quick roundup on my social media accounts verified what we had been dreading for the past couple of days — the rebels’ promised ultimatum of “revenge” for the regime's barrel bombing of their areas in east Aleppo. One phrase I repeatedly heard neatly summed up the situation: “The bombs are falling like rain in Halab [Aleppo].” And like rain they fell, across an arc of neighborhoods that roughly followed the front lines.

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 for annual access.