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Aleppo residents tested by snowstorm, war

The snowstorm that blanketed the Middle East added to the misery of Aleppo’s residents and refugees, as children died from a lack of power, water and heating.
Children warm themselves next to an open fire beside fuel barrels, engine oil and accessories displayed for sale in Aleppo January 13, 2015. Residents of Kafr Hamra, a town in the rural Aleppo countryside, refine crude oil in makeshift cottage refineries in warehouses and backyards for heating, operating bakeries and even running cars, just like most locals across rebel-held areas of Syria. The state no longer pumps gasoline to areas in rebel hands, and civilians have resorted to buying crude oil from armed

The snow that blanketed Aleppo brought misery to its inhabitants. It was just one more unbearable burden added to the horror and toil of the war. A freak winter storm that hit the region claimed the lives of children in refugee camps in neighboring countries, but also some inside Syria itself, including the battered city of Aleppo. The reason was quite simple: There were no means of keeping warm, and what little there were, the average person could never hope to afford. Where once children were overjoyed when the rare snow fell so that they could skip school and go out and play, they now feared that very same snow could kill them.

Wrecked by relentless war, Aleppo is now also freezing, with no power, no water, no gasoline, no cooking gas and no heating. A city hit by those chronic shortages was in no shape to cope with such a fierce winter storm. As temperatures plummeted below freezing, schools, businesses and government offices shut down. The city came to an eerie standstill as people huddled together for warmth, wearing their heaviest winter clothes indoors. Frostbite, cold burns and vascular diseases became commonplace; the people’s spirit was broken, just like their city.

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