The rebel-held east of the Syrian city was devastated by years of bombing, first by the government alone then bolstered by Russian forces. Ruth Maclean travelled to Aleppo to hear how the district’s few remaining residents survive
A small group of boys play football, dodging tangled metal in the ruined ruined Umayyad mosque of Aleppo’s old city. When they were last able to come here, before the war, the vast courtyard’s patterned floor was beautifully polished, and the pile of bricks in a corner was a millennium-old minaret.
Now, the boys pick at the sandbags piled in its huge, fire-blackened arches. For them, this ancient place-of-worship-turned-fortress is a playground in a hellscape.