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Rory Stewart

  • BuyAleppo Observed: Ottoman Syria through the Eyes of Two Scottish Doctors, Alexander and Patrick Russell by Maurits H. van den Boogert
    Arcadian Library, 254 pp, £120.00, September 2015, ISBN 978 0 19 958856 5

The fighting that began in Aleppo on 19 July 2012 lasted four years, five months and three days, killing more than thirty thousand people – almost three times the number killed in the siege of Sarajevo twenty years earlier. Most of the tens of thousands of buildings and apartments which were destroyed lay in the modern residential areas in the east of the city, but fighting in the winter of 2012-13 and a bomb in 2014 destroyed almost every shop in the historic souk, damaged the ancient citadel, eviscerated the city’s largest ‘khan’ or trading courtyard, blew up two medieval seminaries, and brought down the 11th-century minaret of the great mosque.

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[*] Aleppo: A History by Ross Burns (Routledge, 340 pp., £113.95, September 2016, 978 0 415 73721 0).

[†] Aleppo: The Rise and Fall of Syria’s Great Merchant City by Philip Mansel (I.B. Tauris, 224 pp., £17.99, February 2016, 978 1 7845 3461 5).