Breadlines and fuel shortages as winter grips Aleppo

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The summer battles around Aleppo have subsided but Syrians in this city, whose peacetime population of 2.5 million has been reduced by an exodus of hundreds of thousands, are facing new challenges of winter cold and wartime shortages.

Some districts are faring better, with vegetable sellers laying out tomatoes and tangerines and falafel shops frying the ubiquitous bean food. But many people are too poor to afford it.

“We can’t find any bread. There’s a famine. People are dying, half the bakeries are closed. There's no flour,” said one man in al-Sha’ar district.

Ahmed, a 42-year-old man with six children, said he queued from 8 in the morning. “Sometimes we get bread, sometimes we don’t. There's no water, no gas, no electricity. The water supply runs out every two days.”

Not all the city’s residents hold Assad responsible for their suffering. Aleppo has traditionally been a city with divided loyalties and even in areas controlled by the rebels, some people have had enough of the daily shortages and blame them on the president’s opponents.

“We don’t leave our homes after 6 p.m. We just want peace again,” said Um Saleh, a woman wearing a face veil and a full-length black wool coat. She blamed the Free Syrian Army rebels for hijacking bread lines to take loaves for their family.

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