The division of Aleppo city
This chapter explores the role of the urban heritage of Aleppo – a focal point in the Syrian conflict – in materialising the city’s wartime division into the rebel-controlled east and the regime-controlled west. Using a variety of scholarly resources that discuss these changes in Aleppo, as well as interviews with experts and locals, UNESCO reports, local and international news agencies and even comments from social media, this chapter traces the physical transformations of Aleppo’s heritage before and during the war as well as the changes in the perception of heritage by the Aleppines. The argument of the chapter is that the city’s socio-spatial polarisation into east and west dates from a period long before the war, and that the specific localisation and fabric of heritage contributed to the division of Aleppo during wartime. The chapter however also observes that bewailing the loss of heritage may have the power to bring its residents together.