Darkness consumes Aleppo

Ian Pannell reports from Aleppo: Adnan Abu Hassan works over a small wood fire, spreading patties of dough over the back of a hot pan that rests on the charcoals until they become crisp flatbreads.

Adnan is not a baker; he is a painter but these are desperate times in Aleppo’s sprawling al-Sukkari neighbourhood.

“There’s no work at the moment,” he says. “Life is very hard. I earn 100 Syrian pounds a day and I have to feed four children and pay the rent.”

That is less than $1.50 or about 90 pence a day. In an economy ravaged by war, the value of the Syrian pound has fallen almost as rapidly as prices for basic goods have risen.

Inflation is rampant and unemployment is endemic. What Adnan earns from bread is simply not enough to survive and like most of his neighbours, he struggles to get by on handouts, donations and loans.
Restless crowds

The battle for Aleppo appears to have eased over the last few weeks but the suffering of those who live in this ancient city has not. Aleppo is facing a winter of misery and of dearth.

When the sun sets at 4:30, the streets are empty. The electricity supply was cut off days ago, in some areas weeks ago, and darkness seems to consume the city. [Continue reading…]

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