IT40 News for 08/31/2018

#34 Syrians returning to Aleppo confront hope and hardship

ALEPPO, Syria — In this city's historic center, 63-year-old soap manufacturer Safwan Zenabili is back in business.

The olive soap Aleppo is famous for was stacked high at his 400-year old factory during a recent visit, the roof roughly patched after years of bombings and clashes among rebel groups left gaping holes.

Zenabili said his factory was taken over by rebel groups for four years. They stole nearly everything, he told NBC News.

He's starting over but said, "I'm happy because they're gone ... I forget what happened before. This is a new life, new beginning."

Nearly two years after Syrian government forces took back control of Aleppo, the eastern part of the city — once a center of the rebellion against President Bashar al Assad — is still in ruins. The battle for Aleppo cost thousands of lives and both rebel groups and the Syrian government forces and their Russian allies have been accused of war crimes.

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