A local football match took on significant meaning for supporters this weekend – as war-torn Aleppo saw its first live game in five years.
Local side Al-Ittihad beat their city rivals Hurriya 2-1 on Saturday.
There has been no professional football in Aleppo since it was divided between the army and rebel forces in 2011.
But the government regained complete control of the city last month in a major offensive.
The grass was brown and weathered from the winter cold, and the stadium had clearly been damaged by the war’s bombing campaigns – but the atmosphere was like any local football game elsewhere.
The only hints of the division that plagued the city were a prominent banner in the stands showing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the police in riot gear standing on the sidelines.
But the crowd remained upbeat, chanting to the sound of drumbeats and waving flags in their team colours.
“I …