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The two sides of Aleppo: Relaxing with death on your doorstep

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By Euronews
The two sides of Aleppo: Relaxing with death on your doorstep

People lounge around a hotel swimming pool as a singer entertains them…

It is not the sort of scene you would expect to see in Aleppo, the divided city that has become the focus of fighting in Syria’s five-year-old civil war.

Yet, as Danish television channel TV 2 discovered, in one government-controlled area, life and leisure is continuing as the battle rages within earshot.

“We have become accustomed to it. It makes no difference to us,” said businessman Tawfik Hadad, taking a break from splashing about in the pool.

“When we hear something, it’s normal. Even when we hear about death, it has become normal. Every day we hear that people are being killed.”

Shopping continues, too, in streets with modern boutiques and plenty of room for parking.

“We can’t stop our lives from the people who are on the other side,” said student Noor Haj Othmann.

“But we hope that they get a better life like we did.”

Even children, who have borne the brunt of the conflict, can have fun in a mini theme park, next door to the apocalyptic scenes that have made Aleppo a symbol of the horror that Syria and most of its people continue to endure.

The country’s biggest city before the five-year-old conflict, Aleppo is split into rebel- and government-controlled areas.

Rebel-held zones suffer heavy air strikes as pro-government forces try to retake territory.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad wants to fully recapture divided Aleppo. Gains made by Damascus have relied heavily on Russian air support since September last year.