Arab Today, arab today life on syria taxi driving in aleppo
Last Updated : GMT 05:43:50
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today

Life on Syria: taxi driving in Aleppo

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today Life on Syria: taxi driving in Aleppo

Aleppo - AFP

Taxi driver Majdi, well-built and bearded, may appear fearless as he negotiates the lines that have divided Aleppo since rebels seized several city districts in the summer, but he has serious concerns. The divisions are clear from the moment of arrival at the embattled northern city\'s international airport, a loyalist enclave surrounded by rebel-held areas. An aircraft makes an immediate 80-degree bank as it takes off, to avoid being targeted by rebel fighters holed up in nearby olive groves. To get to the army-held Saadallah al-Jabri Square in the heart of the country\'s commercial capital, Majdi must first cross three eastern districts in the hands of opponents of President Bashar al-Assad\'s regime. In Maysar, Tareq al-Bab and Sakhur, the rebels have set up checkpoints using sandbags and the independence flags adopted by supporters of revolt against the regime. The fighters stop and search cars and often demand to see drivers\' ID cards. \"Driving through the rebel checkpoints is a real lottery,\" says 38-year-old Majdi, who has all too quickly learned to cope with the new reality. \"The key is to look straight ahead. If they catch you looking at them, they get suspicious.\" He has good reason to be concerned: a taxi driver was reported killed by a sniper in the Bab al-Nasser area of Aleppo on Thursday. It was not immediately known who targeted him. On July 20, while battles raged across the southern belt of Damascus, rebel forces launched an attack against Syria\'s commercial hub, which is home to 2.7 million residents. They quickly seized several districts on the edges and near the centre of Aleppo, meeting only weak resistance from regime forces. The army later reclaimed the emblematic district of Salaheddin and part of Saif al-Dawla -- both scenes of violent clashes -- as well as the Christian neighbourhood of Jdeideh in the central Old City. Since then, Aleppo\'s front lines have entered a state of stagnant attrition. \"Both sides know us drivers and they let us work,\" Majdi tells an AFP journalist who is surprised by how closely Aleppo has come to resemble Beirut during neighbouring Lebanon\'s 1975-1990 civil war. \"Otherwise, the city would be totally paralysed.\" But 45-year-old Abdo does not want to take the same risks as Majdi, and drives only in regime-held neighbourhoods. \"In Aleppo, you\'ve got regime forces and the rebel Free Syrian Army, but the largest group is an army of thieves roaming the city,\" Abdo says. \"Bandits have set up roadblocks. They say they\'re rebel fighters but then steal your car, and that\'s my only way to make a living. They demand 250,000 Syrian pounds (around $3,500) or you don\'t get the car back. \"This has happened to dozens of my colleagues, and when it\'s your money they\'re after, they have no compassion.\" For six weeks since the rebel offensive began, Aleppo has led a double life. \"That\'s why I try and choose my passengers well,\" says Abdo. \"Though I make less money, at least I\'m safe.\" In the city centre, despite the sound of bombardment, some of it especially fierce, shops are open and ice cream stores are full, even after midnight, both in the Christian district of Aziziyeh and the Muslim neighbourhood of Mogambo. But these areas have also suffered change, as a large number of Aleppo residents have fled the city for safety in Beirut, Cairo or elsewhere, and have yet to return. By contrast, many outer districts and large swathes of the Old City are under rebel control. In these areas, violence and shortages force remaining residents to shelter at home as soon as night falls. A bullet shot by a sniper has drilled through the door of 28-year-old Ahmed\'s yellow taxi. He narrowly escaped death, he says, just as he was crossing a rebel-held bridge. Immediately afterwards, he says, he came to an army checkpoint where loyalists accused him of working with the rebels. They broke his ID card in a country where cracked identification papers land people in jail after a firebrand Saudi-based cleric who makes anti-Alawite speeches urged his followers to get rid of any documents issued by the regime. In order to get a new ID card, Ahmed will now have to travel to Sfira, 25 kilometres (15 miles) southeast of Aleppo. \"I almost got killed by the rebels, and now I risk going to jail,\" he says. \"On top of all that, I only make around $7 a day.\"

Name *

E-mail *

Comment Title*

Comment *

: Characters Left

Mandatory *

Terms of use

Publishing Terms: Not to offend the author, or to persons or sanctities or attacking religions or divine self. And stay away from sectarian and racial incitement and insults.

I agree with the Terms of Use

Security Code*

Arab Today, arab today life on syria taxi driving in aleppo Arab Today, arab today life on syria taxi driving in aleppo

 



Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today Fadi explains secrets of  Nancy Ajram's newlook

GMT 18:23 2017 Friday ,24 February

Fadi explains secrets of  Nancy Ajram's newlook
Arab Today, arab today Tourist guide explains types of tourism

GMT 18:28 2017 Saturday ,25 February

Tourist guide explains types of tourism
Arab Today, arab today Expresses Algerian history by woody figures

GMT 13:26 2017 Friday ,24 February

Expresses Algerian history by woody figures
Arab Today, arab today Iran complying with nuclear deal

GMT 07:14 2017 Saturday ,25 February

Iran complying with nuclear deal
Arab Today, arab today Ayat Abaza says state TV presented major stars

GMT 03:52 2017 Sunday ,26 February

Ayat Abaza says state TV presented major stars

GMT 16:41 2017 Saturday ,25 February

Twin suicide bombing hit security bases in Homs

GMT 16:36 2017 Saturday ,25 February

Clashes, bombardement kill 122 across Syria

GMT 15:15 2017 Saturday ,25 February

deash rocket fire damages key gas plant in central Syria

GMT 12:46 2017 Saturday ,25 February

At least 60 killed in blast near Syria's al-Bab

GMT 11:30 2017 Saturday ,25 February

Iraq air force strikes ISIL targets in Syria

GMT 01:55 2017 Saturday ,25 February

Syrian army pushes near daesh-held city of Palmyra
View News in Arabic - Country: سوريا
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today Reading therapy relieves mental disorders

GMT 15:39 2017 Friday ,24 February

Reading therapy relieves mental disorders
Arab Today, arab today UK appoints 1st Scotland Yard chief in 188 years

GMT 05:14 2017 Thursday ,23 February

UK appoints 1st Scotland Yard chief in 188 years
Arab Today, arab today Penguins in the age of dinos

GMT 11:44 2017 Saturday ,25 February

Penguins in the age of dinos
Arab Today, arab today Pluto's unruly moons

GMT 06:31 2015 Thursday ,04 June

Pluto's unruly moons
Arab Today, arab today 'Constructive' Vauxhall talk with union

GMT 08:54 2017 Saturday ,25 February

'Constructive' Vauxhall talk with union
Arab Today, arab today Tesla back into red but revenue grows

GMT 07:27 2017 Thursday ,23 February

Tesla back into red but revenue grows
Arab Today, arab today Actress Lobna Abdel Aziz proud of her career

GMT 06:08 2017 Thursday ,23 February

Actress Lobna Abdel Aziz proud of her career
Arab Today, arab today Ex-yoga missionary unleashes rage

GMT 12:16 2017 Thursday ,23 February

Ex-yoga missionary unleashes rage

GMT 07:36 2017 Wednesday ,22 February

Wafaa Amer is happy for Sherihan’s return

GMT 12:35 2017 Tuesday ,21 February

63-Year-Old Woman Delivers Baby

GMT 22:42 2017 Thursday ,23 February

Nasima Gamei revives heritage in jewelries

GMT 10:28 2017 Wednesday ,22 February

Milan laughs while Rome cries

GMT 20:33 2017 Friday ,17 February

To release new antiques collection

GMT 10:20 2017 Thursday ,23 February

Brazil's top diplomat resigns

GMT 11:54 2017 Thursday ,23 February

Saudis await visitors but will they come?

GMT 13:12 2015 Saturday ,09 May

Sheikh Sultan opens Sharjah Centre

GMT 20:02 2017 Tuesday ,21 February

Nohan Seyam designs beautiful accessories
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today
 
 Arab Today Facebook,arab today facebook  Arab Today Twitter,arab today twitter Arab Today Rss,arab today rss  Arab Today Youtube,arab today youtube  Arab Today Youtube,arab today youtube
arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday
arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday
arabstoday
بناية النخيل - رأس النبع _ خلف السفارة الفرنسية _بيروت - لبنان
arabstoday, Arabstoday, Arabstoday