History can be truly cruel and there are places which have repeatedly been the center of historic events. Poitiers in France is one such venue with two historical battles, one of which in 972 was the turning point of the Moslem invasion of Europe. Other cities easily come to mind such as Moscow which stopped two major invasions by Napoleon and Hitler, as well as Rome and Athens which became the building blocks for Western Civilization. Yet none of them can compare to #Aleppo in #Syria which survived over three thousand years of wars and invasions.

History's playground

Aleppo saw the birth of civilization and it was the battlefield for Romans and Greeks before becoming an Arab city.

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It was a central city of the Crusades and Saladin’s Capital before falling to the Mongols. It was devastated by earthquakes and plague from which it always recovered. It eventually became a part of the Ottoman Empire and continues to be part of history in the making. This rich history justifiably made the city a UNESCO World Heritage site aAnd yet it is now being destroyed in a battle which will have no clear winner and which risks being a running sore for the world for who knows how long into the future.

The current battle raging in and around the Syrian city is virtually a microcosm of world politics and a tragic summary of the true meaning of the phrase “clash of cultures”. The battle involves strategic conflict between Russia and the United States, ideological conflict between the world’s two greatest religions Christianity and Islam, the eternal conflict within Islam between the Shiites, Sunnis and the body which calls itself the Islamic State and finally conflict between forces for or against Syrian dictator Bashar Al-Assad.

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No matter who wins these many conflicts the victims will always be Aleppo’s citizens who are caught between the various factions and nations that are reducing the city to a pile of rubble and is destroying historical monuments that survived three millennia of history until the 21st century dealt the killer blow.

Trump's challenge

This battle is the first foreign challenge for Donald Trump in the White House and is a challenge that may well determine the success or failure of his political ambitions. Aleppo will not only set him against Russia’s Vladimir Putin, but also potentially with his other allies in the conflict who have very different intentions for the region. The conflict is also playing a central role in the age-old struggle between Islam’s two major sects and thus will decide what role Iran will continue to play in Islam in the future.

Naturally, the greatest tragedy in the Battle for Aleppo is the loss of lives within its population and which was enshrined a few months ago in the now famous photo of the child in the ambulance which so captured the world. This photo tells us one profound truth, that while History is made up of major events, the building blocks for these events will always be the people who suffer due to the decisions of the world’s political and religious leaders.

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Nobody knows how Aleppo will be remembered in the future, or whether it will survive at all and who will be the statesman who will finally manage to resolve this tragedy. Hopefully, that person is already in power and that we do not have to wait years or generations for a final resolution. What we do know is that the suffering of this city has become a symbol of the cost of international power struggles such as we have not seen for a long time.

The world’s population must wait and see what will become of the people of Aleppo. The loss of monuments is sad but much worse is the loss of life of its inhabitants. The world’s leaders have brought us to this tragedy, yet our greatest fear is that there are those who want the killing to continue. Let us hope that this is not the case. #Donald Trump