Aleppo: A city in Syria
Christians in Aleppo on 25 December 2016 celebrated Christmas for the first time ever in 5 years.
The Christian population in the city celebrated the holy festival under a giant Christmas tree. Many people described the Christmas celebrations as the return of peace in the city that came back under full government control in the third week of December 2016.
- Aleppo is a city in Syria and also the most populous Syrian governorate.
- For many centuries, the city was the Syria’s largest city and the Ottoman Empire's third-largest, after Constantinople and Cairo.
- It was one of the largest cities in the Levant before the advent of the Syrian Civil War.
- It is an ancient metropolis and one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. Historians state that the city may have been inhabited since the 6th millennium BC.
- Aleppo was first mentioned in the latter part of the 3rd millennium BC in cuneiform tablets unearthed in Ebla and Mesopotamia.
- Its significance in history has been its location at one end of the Silk Road, which passed through central Asia and Mesopotamia. It was only in 1869, when the Suez Canal was inaugurated, trade diverted to sea and the city saw its slow decline.
- Since the Battle of Aleppo started in 2012, the city has suffered massive destruction. It has been the worst-hit city in the Syrian Civil War.
- In July 2016, Syrian government troops blocked the rebels' last supply line into Aleppo with the help of Russian airstrikes.
- In response, rebel forces launched futile counteroffensives in September 2016 and October 2016 that proved unsuccessful in breaking the siege.
- In November 2016, government forces decided on a decisive campaign that resulted in the recapture of the entire city by December 2016.
- The fall of rebel-held east Aleppo was the biggest victory of Syria's nearly 6-year-old civil war for supporters of President Bashar al-Assad.
- However, the rebel defeat has also brought severe hardship on civilians who fled from insurgent-held areas. It has also been brought to notice that many residents are in peril and children have died from exposure to severe winter weather.