29 November 2016

How much longer can east Aleppo hold out?

With hospitals destroyed, winter weather setting in and food running low, people in east Aleppo are running out of time.
Dylan Collins & Zouhir Al Shimale

Hamza Abduljabbar's gnarled hands wipe the dust off the dashboard of his white Isuzu minibus.

Back hunched from decades sitting behind the wheel, Abduljabbar still wakes up each morning at 6am to check on his vehicle - the windows of which have long since been blown out by nearby air strikes - when his rounds of east Aleppo's Fardous neighbourhood would normally have begun.

"Everything is dusty these days. The bombing never stops," he says. "Anyway, there's no fuel, so the car just sits here." Five years of war and five months of siege have aged the 45-year-old father of three well beyond his years. He hasn't worked in months.

Government forces, backed by Russian air power and allied militias, began a new push last week to take control of the whole of Syria's second city, the latest offensive in the uprising-turned-war that has killed more than 400,000 people and forced nearly five million Syrians out of the country in search of safety.