Summary of Aleppo After the Fall

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Aleppo After the Fall summary


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The battle over the Syrian city of Aleppo has been fierce and brutal. When the Syrian army captured the city in late 2016, it marked a strategic turning point in the civil war in favor of the Syrian regime. Robert F. Worth, a veteran Middle East reporter for The New York Times, traveled to the country in March 2017 to meet some of the Aleppo residents who stayed. He meets “urban Robinson Crusoe” Abu Sami, who stuck it out alone in his home for four and a half years until the fighting ended, and the busy engineer Tarif Attora, who has been risking his life running a network of volunteers repairing electricity lines in both rebel- and regime-controlled areas of the city. Although Aleppo’s survivors have dealt with their situation in different ways and supported various warring factions, many of them are waking up to the realization that they won’t be able to achieve freedom by destroying each other.

In this summary, you will learn

  • Why the fall of Aleppo in late 2016 marked a turning point in the Syrian civil war,
  • Why many Syrians are becoming reluctant supporters of the Assad regime and
  • Why the Syrian army is secretly condoning widespread looting in the civil war.

About the Author

Robert F. Worth spent 14 years as a correspondent for The New York Times and was its Beirut bureau chief from 2007 to 2011. He is the author of A Rage for Order, a book on the Arab Spring uprisings of 2011.



In mid-December 2016, Syrian president Bashar al-Assad’s army recaptured the city of Aleppo from rebel groups. The city had become a microcosm of the Syrian conflict. Western observers have been accusing the Syrian army and its Russian allies of targeting hospitals and civilians in their attempt to regain control over the country’s second-largest city, which has served as a cultural and commercial hub in the region for centuries. Assad’s supporters have portrayed the recapture of the city as a “liberation” from brutal terrorist rule. While Assad and his allies evidently committed war crimes in Aleppo, the rule of the rebels was similarly abhorrent: Feuding rebel factions had turned the city into a “chaotic wasteland full of feuding militias...[that] hoarded food and weapons while the people starved.”

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