Six months after the heavily publicized defeat of Syrian rebel forces in Aleppo to the Assad government, the once magnificent metropolis and largest city of northern Syria is still reeling from the consequences of years of violent conflict. The elaborate communal, economic and material threads that for centuries had made up the social fabric underpinning the city’s wealth, as well as its physical and societal integrity, may have been irreparably damaged. Today, much of the city lies in rubble and many of its once proud inhabitants have been reduced to abject poverty. The immediate challenges of post-recapture life, from reconstruction to the Assad government’s attempts to restoring services and order, may give us a first glimpse into what Syria would look like after a complete regime-recapture.
Destruction and Recovery
The most visible injury to Aleppo’s splendor has been the material damage suffered in more than four years of near-constant fighting. So vast is the destruction that it is most efficiently surveyed by satellite imagery. An initial damage assessment combining both geospatial and ground-level qualitative analysis commissioned in the second half of 2016 estimated that at least one-third of housing units across the city have either suffered significant material damage or been destroyed entirely. These numbers are from beforethe worst onslaught in November and December.