Voices from Aleppo: “God Willing, We Will Return”

On Dec. 15, Ibrahim Abdul Laith, longtime resident of Aleppo and a volunteer with the media center of the Syrian Civil Defence (known as the “White Helmets”), sat in front of his camera and pressed the record button.

“Maybe this is our last day in Aleppo,” he says, speaking softly, looking directly into the camera.

It’s a quiet morning, just a few hours into the ceasefire put into effect earlier that morning. But behind him are buildings that have been bombed into rubble, showing the neighborhood hasn’t always been so serene.

“We don’t want to leave this city,” he continues, smiling. “We won’t leave our city until it is destroyed.”

Over the past month, Syrian regime forces have advanced on the notoriously opposition-controlled eastern part of the city, going door to door, executing and arresting civilians. Their assault left at least 82 dead, according to the United Nations. Russian airplanes assisted the brutal assault, in November bombing the last remaining fully functional hospital in Eastern Aleppo out of operation. Doctors and medics were forced to care for wounded patients in makeshift, underground facilities. The weeks-long assault is a tactic many of Aleppo’s residents interpret as forcing them to flee the city that they called home.

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