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'Conflict freeze' desperately needed in Aleppo

Residents of Aleppo are losing patience with the hardships the war has brought and want an end to the conflict that has ruined their city and their lives.
Smoke rises from al-Khalidiya neighbourhood, where forces loyal to Syria's president Bashar Al-Assad are located, during what activists said was shelling by Free Syrian Army fighters from Bani Zeid neighbourhood, in Aleppo November 10, 2014. REUTERS/Abdalrhman Ismail (SYRIA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST CONFLICT) - RTR4DM55
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ALEPPO, Syria — The long stalemated northern front, which has seen little change since a rebel offensive took over half the city of Aleppo and almost the entirety of its countryside over two years ago, seems now to be entering a new phase, one which may either solidify the status quo via a UN-proposed "conflict freeze" or see the regime push on with its increasingly successful campaign to take Aleppo back from the rebels.

Although opinion in the city is divided over the ambiguous "freeze" proposal, there is overwhelming support for a respite — brief or permanent — from the real hardships and dangers of war. To put it all into context, Aleppo is a city under constant bombardment from both warring camps. It suffers from chronic shortages of basic needs, collapsed infrastructure and a breakdown of general law and order. Those problems are especially pronounced in the rebel-held east. To gauge the pulse on the street, Al-Monitor spoke to three residents representing a cross section of the diverse economic and social fabric that makes up the identity of this complex metropolis.

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