Aleppo. An ancient, majestic city, one full of historic architecture and rich in history, is now facing apocalyptic levels of destruction. Aleppo was once a great center of learning – a great number of famous scholars came out of Aleppo and it was seen as a prominent seat of learning throughout history. A fierce war of over 5 years has taken a visible toll on the city with landmarks and streetscapes seeing complete overhauls at the hands of relentless airstrikes & shelling through Russian and Assad forces. In this pictorial piece we share some archive images of the noble city and contrast them with the current scene. The damage to these structures pales greatly in comparison to the shedding of innocent blood, but we present these images as an indication of the extent of the horrific bombardment that the people have endured these past few years.
(Note: All images can be clicked for a larger version)
The Old Souk (marketplace) in Aleppo, photographed previously in 2007 and afterwards in 2013, once resembled something from a history book, a beautiful embodiment of the city’s history. A few short years have seen it become like a scene from a war film.
Photographs of Souq Bab Antakya and Souq Al Ebe show a similarly depressing sight:
Places of worship have not been spared destruction either. These images of the historic Grand Umayyad Mosque present another harrowing scene of destruction. The “before” images could be shots from any admiring tourist’s collection. Images taken barely a year later show a courtyard littered with debris, collapsed entryways and other forms of damage – a historic site utterly devoid of its former magnificence.
Far from being out of danger, hospitals have become main bombing targets in recent weeks. The below images show al-Kindi hospital in 2012 and then 2013:
Aleppo Hospital faced a similar fate this year:
Areas surrounding the renowned Citadel of Aleppo have been reduced to what can only be called craters and the Citadel itself has been severely damaged.
This is the Dar Al-Iftaa building, located near the Citadel.
These images show Al-Hatab Square in it’s former glory and then what it has now been reduced to:
This scenic park in Aleppo had it’s trees chopped down to make fire wood, as access to utilities has been unsteady and the winter is notoriously cold.
The damage to Aleppo is in fact so extensive that it is viewable by satellite.
Below, Aleppo is invisible in this night image as there is no power for lighting.
In a hadith from Abd Allah ibn `Amr ibn al-`As (may Allah be pleased with him), the Messenger of Allah ﷺ when performing tawaf around the Ka`ba said:
“How pure and good you are! how pure and good your fragrance is! how great and exalted you are! and how great and exalted your sanctity is! But by Him in Whose hand is Muhammad’s soul, the sanctity of a believer’s blood and property in the sight of Allah is greater than your sanctity!”
We do not share these images merely to lament the sad loss of history, but moreso as a testimony to the environement our brothers and sisters have lived in for years, the strain they have faced day after day and the destruction that could easily and constantly chisel away at their will. In spite of this, they have remained resilient. While everything around them fell, their will remained standing. Indeed, it is to force this will to bow that US and Russian political and military stratagems continue to be employed. On their part, the noble people of al-Sham spoke years ago: lan narka’ illa lilla! – We will not bow except to Allah!
May Allah reward the people of Shaam with the highest of rewards for what they endure. We ask that He alleviates their stress and gives them aid and victory, especially for the people of Aleppo in these dark times.