Aleppo actual, Syria
(Excerpt from a letter written)
It’s early in the morning here, cold-ish (evening there, I presume) I got a couple of hours of sleep but I don't like sleeping long in the field and it’s better the get out early in case of any action that may be coming down. I’m at what used to be a very nice house on Badr St., east of the middle of Aleppo. It’s now in tatters the house (if I’m allowed to use this term to describe a home) covered inside with dust, rubble, shrapnel, and bullet-holes— it’s safe enough now however, most of the shelling and bombing raids are happening to the western side of the city. Good thing is that the house has two generators which allows me to charge my phone and my batteries which seem to frickin' die a lot— the kindness and generosity of the families living here is beyond measure. Walking around the streets, I find something new which I didn’t see before— maybe because I was too busy running and ducking (ha); the outside and window areas of buildings and houses in which people still remain have tarp and heavy canvas draped over them to slow down glass, rebar, and other shrapnel. Also it provides cover against pro-Assad snipers.
I’m staying and tagging along with some FSA men I knew from my last trip here; they were kids then, the eldest one was 19 when I met them first. Their faces show the weariness of the last few years, their bodies scared from the battles they’ve been in. I crossed over into Syria with them in their truck before morning right after we last spoke. We drove into Aleppo while it was still dark, and had morning tea with them — they wanted to know about my life since we last met, I asked about theirs; hung my head in my inability to do anything about the losses. We walked around the streets adjacent and I could still smell the same smells I smelled when I was here last… Maybe it was my mind.
I wanted to get into Al Bab east-ish of Aleppo to photograph activity there, it’s a smaller, denser city than Aleppo and it’s been targeted often recently. One of the boys (I’m going to keep calling them boys, because they are, you see) got his friend and his SUV to drive me there, as it turns out there were some supplies that needed to get there anyway. Kassim is a young man too, his beard barely making headway as it were. But, he liked my cigarettes and my music so, we smoked and drove. As we neared the city, we were stopped by artillery shells landing around us, specifically targetting a convoy of cars coming the opposite direction, we tried getting closer, I took photos, even one with my iPhone… but Kasim was getting nervous and I wasn't feeling brave enough to take on 155mm howitzers so, we turned around.
"Cry Havoc; Let loose the Dogs of War"