Aleppo: Scenes from a City of Ruins

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Italian photographer Alessio Romenzi has been chronicling the Syrian civil war for months. The following pictures of his are from a few days in mid-April spent in the battle-scarred city of Aleppo. They include a glimpse of a rebel fighter encamped in the famed Great Mosque of Aleppo, built nearly a thousand years ago by the once mighty Umayyad dynasty.

From its position in the heart of an ancient city, the minaret of the Great Mosque, an elegant 11th century structure erected atop even more ancient Greco-Roman foundations, has seen a lot. It has withstood epochal earthquakes and the collapse of dynasties and empires. When Mongols or other myriad invaders bathed Aleppo’s streets in blood, the mosque remained in stony silence. But this week, the minaret of the mosque—which has been turned into a battleground between rebel forces and those loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad—exploded during the fighting. It’s become yet another pile of rubble in a historic city now defined by its desolation.—Ishaan Tharoor

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