Aleppo Returns to the Fold

And so Aleppo second largest city in Syria, renown industrial capital and glorious throughout history (UNESCO world heritage site) has returned to the fold.

In 2012, large parts of  Aleppo fell into the hands of terrorist. For four years battles raged in Aleppo is one example resulting in almost irreparable damage. (The old mosque of Aleppo - 12th Century) Building were destroyed, lives were lost and antiquities were looted. Horror spread in Aleppo and martyrs fell in great numbers.

The story of the siege of Al Kindi Hospital still stills hearts in many aspects in the cruelty of the terrorists and in the bravery of the Syrian soldiers.

Al Kindi Hospital was not Aleppo’s only nightmare. Many followed and to mention but a few: the terrorist attempt to capture Aleppo Central Prison or the bloody skirmish between two terrorist groups (Islamist rebels and ISIS) over ISIS headquarters which was a hospital in Qadi Askar district of Aleppo, where a lot of lives were lost. Queres Airport to the east of the Aleppo was ground for bloody battles and many lives too were lost. The siege on Queres airport continued for three and a half years. For the terrorists, Queres airport, had they been able to gain access to it, would have formed a turning point and would have gained them additional strength and strategic importance. Forty eight Pilots out of fifty lost their lives, but Queres airport never fell to the hands of terrorists and was finally liberated in 2015.

2016 saw the liberation of Aleppo city and in February 2020, Aleppo southern and south western countryside was liberated thus sealing a victory for the governorate of Aleppo. Most importantly was the liberation of international roads. Roads that had been closed for years and by their closure had cost the government a great deal of money. These roads are the M4 and M5 highways.

 

The M5 route starts from southern Syria and runs all the way up to Aleppo. It is a 280 mile road and it links four governorates, Damascus, Homs, Hama and Aleppo passing through Idlib and hence it is a major economic pathway facilitating trade and movement.

The M4 links the seaport of Lattakia to Aleppo, thus facilitating movement of goods imported from abroad. The alternative route to M4 would be a route that would start from Lattakia passing through Hama, Salamieh, Kharaser to Aleppo city. This route increase the distance greatly and hence the cost of transportation.

 

Recovering both these routes was a victory of the government for the benefits were many strategically, economically and politically.

These benefits were further cemented by the great emphasis put on Aleppo with the aim of rebuilding it and returning it to its former glory. Cabinet meetings have been recently held is Aleppo to show government interest and keenness in this industrial capital. Bigger budget allocations were given to the city of Aleppo and business men were encouraged to take their projects there. The Syrian government is considering issuing new laws and rules that might include a freeze on taxes, and bill of electricity water and phone on factories and facilities that have been closed for a long time (seven years) due to crisis. There is also the possibility of the Syrian government shouldering seven percent in case of business men wanting to take out loans.

The government is also considering giving loans with no interest or very little interest to rebuild and then re-equip factories.

Administrative measures including speeding up approvals from municipalities and governorates are also being carefully studied.

If this happens then that means that imports will decrease and Syria will be more self-reliant even attracting investors and that will save hard currency for the government.

With the return of stability, Aleppo today, witnesses a surge of people returning to their homes, shops and factories. Some industrialists and factory owners have reopened their businesses in the area of Kafr Hamra, while farmers have returned to their farms and fields in western Aleppo. In time, Aleppo will once again return to its golden reign. 

 

Reem Haddad

Editor-in-chief

Obayda Al Hamad             

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