In 2016, one of the worst human tragedies took place in Aleppo. After a few months of siege and indiscriminate shelling, tens of thousands of people were evicted from the city. Beyond the horrific scenes of bombardment and forced mass eviction, little reflection has followed on how and why these violations happened and what the implications are for the present and future Syria.
Why did Aleppo fall? Who is responsible and how to be held accountable? What was the role of the local armed factions in Aleppo? Who was negotiating on behalf of the civilians? Who was forced to leave eastern Aleppo and who was allowed to return after the fall? What is happening in Aleppo today? What are the protection needs of civilians living in Aleppo under Assad?
In answering these questions, Lina Shamy gave personal testimony of living under Aleppo’s siege before she was forced to leave with the last busses in 2016; Dr. Mohamad Katoub addressed the inhumane situation under the siege and put it into context with the use of siege as a war tactic against civilians in many other locations around Syria; finally, Karam Nachar reflected on the meaning and implications of Aleppo’s catastrophe, ending with an outlook on the future of an increasingly fragmented country.