Thursday, December 13, 2012
Destruction and resistance: Window into war-torn Aleppo
NBC News producer Ghazi Balkiz is traveling in northern Syria with NBC News Chief Foreign Correspondent Richard Engel. He took these photographs in Aleppo within the past week.
Rebels in Aleppo's old city sit 20 yards from Syrian army troops. The fighting in these narrow streets and alleys has reached a stalemate with neither side advancing or retreating. Rebels at this location told NBC News that they were so close to the enemy that they sometimes talk with the Syrian army soldiers.
Aleppo's Dar Al-Shifa hospital stands in ruins next to the rubble of a building that used to be next to it. Members of the Free Syrian Army told NBC News that the hospital was targeted because it was treating anti-Assad forces.
Rebels prevented NBC News from filming the outside of all functioning hospitals in the city because, they said, the government would use the images to target the buildings. They allowed NBC News to film Dar Al-Shifa because the hospital was no longer being used.
A nurse treats a Free Syrian Army fighter who had been shot by a sniper. The nurse uses a head torch because there is no electricity in the hospital. NBC News saw many wounded people being turned away from this hospital and sent to other clinics.
A doctor told NBC that the hospital was running low on all sorts of medicines, and had even performed an amputation without anesthetic.
A crater scars the yard outside a bombed school in Aleppo, Syria’s largest city and commercial center. Some residents told NBC News that the school was targeted by President Bashar Assad’s forces in an effort to destroy all aspects of normal life and force people to turn against the rebels. Other residents said that the Syrian army bombed it because the rebels had taken shelter in it.
During past visits to Syria, NBC News saw evidence that the Syrian army was taking over schools and using them as temporary bases.
A textbook with a picture of former Syrian President Hafez Assad, father of current President Bashar Assad, sits on the ground amid garbage and other debris in the schoolyard of the bombed school.
A doorway stands in Aleppo’s Old City, classified as a world heritage site by UNESCO. The ancient walls and alleyways of the city, once renowned as a tourist attraction, are now riddled with bullet holes.