Syrian civilians who have remained in Aleppo through weeks of fierce fighting face food and fuel shortages and live in fear of being killed while going about their daily tasks.
Outside a bakery in Aleppo, scores of people waiting to buy bread scurried toward the nearest wall for cover as a government helicopter passed by overhead. Less than two weeks ago, residents say, an air strike hit a nearby bakery, claiming the lives of more than 30 people who had queued up to make their purchases.
As the battle for Aleppo enters its seventh week, even a task as simple as buying bread has become a potentially deadly chore. Many residents say they live in fear of government planes targeting the large crowds that form as people wait up to three hours for bread, the long lines a result of food and fuel shortages brought on by 18 months of violence and upheaval.
“We are living with fear and the fighting with government Army,” says Abdul Qadir Sheb, a construction worker who had been in line for more than an hour.
The Syrian uprising has claimed the lives of more than 23,000 people across the country. Here in the city of Aleppo, where government forces and rebels have massed for what has been described as one of the most critical battles of the war, those civilians who remain say they face a dire situation.
Though Free Syria Army officials say the rebel group now controls up to 70 percent of the city, FSA fighters say their progress has been slowed by Syrian government aircraft and artillery, which they lack the weaponry to effectively counter. The fighting has made it difficult to bring food and supplies into the city, driving up prices.