Christmas ornaments decorate a balcony in Aleppo, Syria December 12, 2009. Picture taken December 12, 2009. REUTERS/Khalil Ashawi - RTSVDT2

Social media users this week shared pictures and videos of Christians celebrating Christmas festivities in western Aleppo for the first time in at least four years. The images emerged as the Syrian army asserted control over the city’s last rebel-held eastern pockets.
Accounts, many of which belonged to supporters of Syrian President Bashar Assad, posted photographs and footage of Syrians lighting Christmas trees in a square in western Aleppo. Celebrations were reportedly interrupted by a bombing in the city’s Aziziyeh neighborhood. However, no injuries were reported. After years of conflict and continued reports of violence on both sides following an uneasy ceasefire reached between the Syrian government and the opposition, Christians expressed their hope that this holiday season would bring stability.
“Despite the harsh conditions the people of Aleppo are enduring, [for both] Christians and Muslims, Christmas brings the hope for peace that we have missed for the last five years. Although many …