Surviving in Aleppo

It was late, but the rhythmic thumping of guns still rang out through the city. I pulled the dirty blanket from the stained mattress I shared with my younger sister. I gazed out through the grimy window at the broken city I lived in. Not long ago it was the epicentre of Syria. Markets used to line the streets, people bustling off each other, buying and selling goods. But they were different times.  People are scared to become close to each other because of the heartbreak that comes if they die, and dying wasn’t unusual anymore. If you hadn’t starved to death already, the bombs and bullets would finish you off.

I moved away from the window and searched for something to eat. My family hadn’t eaten for two days now and our only water supply was cut off last night. I looked across the room at my sister. Because of the lack of food, she had become under-nourished and her skin was pulled back tight on her face, so much so, that her bones stuck out. Her skin was pale and she took heavy breaths. I knew what I had to do, I had to get food. I moved across the room towards the door. I opened the door and turned out onto the streets.

I knew I had to be quick. The airstrikes normally begin at around three in the morning. I ran down the road and turned left. I ran down streets and alleys, turning left and turning right until I reached my destination. A rebel base.

I scanned the area in search of food and noticed some bread and meat lying beside a tent on the other side of the base. There were two men patrolling the base and a sentry on top of a small apartment block. I put my back to the apartment and planned my route. It was going well until I was metres away from the food. I must have got careless and moved too quickly and the sentry spotted me. “Iitlaq alnnar ealayh” he shouted. I grabbed the food and ran.

I ran faster than I had ever ran before and the soldiers were out of my sight within a  minute. I turned into my dusty rundown apartment and I didn’t stop running until I had locked the door behind me. I fell onto my knees and was panting heavily while my sister stared open-mouthed at me. My mother ran across the room but stopped just before she reached me. Her eyes were wet with tears, a look of relief on her face. I pushed the bread and meat across the room to her without looking up. She stared down at me in disbelief. “Can we have breakfast now Mama” I said. “Yes, we can” she responded.

Pádraig Ó Muirí



Surviving In Aleppo

My name is Natasha Kenny. I live in Aleppo, which is a really dangerous and rundown town in Syria. The city has seen death and destruction on a grand scale.

My family and I have been trying to leave this town, but there have been so many complications with our visa and where we are going. From now on we will try our best, because winter is coming. For those left behind, the situation is dire. Few healthcare facilities still function properly. Even if they do, many people are too scared to go to them for fear these buildings will be attacked.

Winter is the worst season to spend in Aleppo. Schools are under fire and, as temperatures drop, there is a daily struggle to find food. Winter is really closing in now.

There are over 30,000 people a day going to kitchens to be fed, either because their home has been destroyed by a bomb or they are homeless. These kitchens are a sight to behold. Hot and busy, they are full of energetic staff, working flat out to feed many of Aleppo’s people on an industrial scale.

I recently talked to a young boy at one of the kitchens. About 13 years old, he stood there quietly, hoping for some hot food for his family.

He managed a brief smile, speaking softly as he told me about his ‘new’ family home: one of the many collective shelters in Aleppo, located in schools, mosques or unfinished buildings.

No electricity or gas means no heating or light. There are sometimes two or three families to a room. This winter, once again, I’m sure I’ll see families burning rubbish to try and keep warm.

Natasha Ní Chionaith



ALEPPO FIGHT                         

When we got to the bottom, I saw old rusty black bars that had dirt all over them. The walls were the colour of dark green, blood on the walls. I see blood everyday now so I’m not that shocked. The ground was missing pieces and it was all cracked. Dead rats were in the corner and bugs were crawling on every wall. They threw me to the ground and I banged my head hard. Blackness started to descend on the corner of my eyes and I suddenly started drifting off…
I woke up. My head was pounding. I struggled to geton my feet. My legs were shaking and every part of me hurt so badly. I was hungry and felt like the day after a night out. I brushed away the bugs crawling on me and started to shake the bars hoping one would break. I grabbed a stick from the cell beside me and stuck it outside of the bars trying to get the keys that were hanging up. They slid onto the stick and I unlocked my cell. I tip toed up the stairs hoping I wouldn’t bump into those scary army men. When I got closer to the top, sounds of bombs rang in my ears. I got to the top and crawled low. An old man couple feet away from me got shot, He stumbled to the ground, crying in pain. “I just needed bread for my wife! She is going to die without…,” He said as he became silent. “How can they do that to an innocent man?” I thought to myself. I went low and made my way home. I climbed the stairs to the top and opened the door.
I walked in to see my mother lying there “Leave. He’s here. You have to leave,” she whimpered. I turned arouned and saw a man who had all of our stuff. He had a gun pointing right at me. I heard the bullet and the pain hit me like a thousand knives. I fell to the ground. I started to drift off and I knew that I wouldn’t wake up this time.

Saoirse C



Awful In Aleppo

It was morning. I woke up in a dark and damp room. I looked out the window and saw war commencing. I went out the back door and I saw a fully-l0aded SMG. I also found a square of bullet proof glass. I picked them both up to defend myself. First I needed to learn how to use the gun.
I started to shoot the wall with the gun, even though the wall was already perforated. Suddenly I saw a soldier coming my way. I used the glass to defend myself. The soldier’s bullets deflected off my glass shield and right into his body. The soldier collapsed to the ground and died.
Immediately after the soldier died, I saw a plane landing from the air. I saw a suitcase on the floor. I opened it and saw 4000 Syrian pounds. I quickly ran to the airport and booked a flight. I had to wait a half an hour. I had some Syrian pounds left so I bought some stuff. Suddenly my flight was ready and I made it back to Ireland safely.





How to Survive in Aleppo

Being in Aleppo is dangerous. Most people have fled, but over a quarter of a million are trapped in the western area of the city. It all started four years ago when the Russians started launching co-ordinated attacks on our city. Planes flew overhead while tanks took over the ground. Our city was a ghost deserted, empty and heartless. There was hardly any food left and many neighbourhoods had formed groups of volunteers to go out and get food for their families. You were lucky if your family still had a father because he would have been the one to get food for you. One of my friends was in that group, he was hit by a piece of shrapnel which shattered his skull and pierced his brain. He died instantly. His brother shot himself in the chest because of this. If you live in an apartment block your best shot is to move to a lower floor, because you’re less likely to get hit by a bomb.
Once you get used to the planes flying over head you’ll become skilled at how to tell the difference in-between Russian and Syrian planes. Russian planes are quieter and their rockets more accurate. If you still have a car, don’t use the lights or light cigarettes because it will give a target for aeroplanes in the night. Always leave your cars’ windows open because, if you don’t, a bomb might explode within a hundred meters of you and shatter your windows with air pressure.
If you’re a child and still have a father, you’re lucky. Your father is the one who’ll get food for your family. Try to avoid hospitals as much as possible. They’re overcrowded and the smell is unbearable. Most people put off going to the hospital for as long as possible many people die because of this. A lot of people have started growing food in their back gardens, but their gardens are also graveyards, if nothing else is available food growing amongst the dead will seem quiet nice. Children who don’t live near schools don’t go anymore. Many schools that have been bombed have moved underground. Although this is unhygienic parents still send their children. People who don’t have any food have started to eat out of dumps and bins. If no airstrikes for days, there is most likely a peace talk going on. That is all you need to know about surviving in Aleppo.

Elliot Ó Nualláin


I Think I can Survive!

It’s the 24/12/2017, yes its Christmas Eve and I’m in the middle of a war in Aleppo. My name is Lizzy, and I’m14 years old, and fighting to survive by myself. Because my Mam got killed by a bomb and sadly I don’t have any siblings. But I’m not completely alone.

I have my dog Baler. Baler is a Husky. He is completely trained and it’s surprising because he is only a year and a few months. I love Baler with all my heart and I know he loves me back. Baler helps me cope with the cracking ratatat of gunfire and the explosive boom of the bombs. Baler comes everywhere with me. He sleeps in my bed with me. He comes with me if I go outside. He even sits outside the bathroom door for me. With Baler I think I can survive.

It’s 8:43 am and I’m Baler on a walk. It’s been quiet all day and night, but I still have to use back alleys and sneak around. As we are walking down the alley beside my apartment block, I see some soldiers and start backing away slowly, and step on Baler’s paw causing him to yelp. Forgetting the soldiers, I bend down on my knee to see if he’s okay. As I pet him on the head I hear the shot of gunfire. I look back to see the soldiers running towards us. With the soldiers hot on our tail, we entered the apartment block we sprinted up the stairs. As we were near the top of the staircase near my apartment, I slipped on one of the many destroyed steps. I get a massive piece of wood stuck in my leg. I instantly screamed in pain. With all the strength I had and the help of Baler I hobbled into the apartment. I slammed the door shut behind me and slid the lock into the latch, and with blurry vision, I slowly slid down the door while tears rolling down my cheeks.
After 30 minutes of waiting to make sure the soldiers were gone, I limped over to the cabinet to get the first aid kit. I carefully lifted myself up on the counter and removed the wood and wrapped my wound in a bandage. I was just sitting there, and my stomach rumbled, so I grabbed some dog food to feed Baler. As he was eating, I went over to my bed and lay down and before I knew it, sleep took over.

I woke up to a hacking sound, my eyes fluttered open and I saw Baler getting sick. I instantly got up, but as soon as I did, excruciating pain shocked my body, and I fell to the floor. I crawled to Baler, I sat beside him and when he was finished, I carried him to the bed and sat with him till he was asleep, and then cleaned up the vomit.
Hours passed and Baler was happy and running around, as he was running towards me, the window smashed and Baler fell to the ground. I ran over to him and saw blood spilling out of his leg. Tears started pouring out my eyed like there was no tomorrow, but without Baler I don’t want a tomorrow. As I looked at Baler, he slowly closed his eyes. As I realized he was gone. I lay with him, in a puddle of his blood, closed my eyes and hope this was just a dream.


In War

I was fighting in a war. My mam and dad had died, and my sister and brother are in the war. I need to save my remaining family which was kidnapped in the war. I need to stop the war and get my family back.
I shot the people that started the war. The war will stop and the people will die and I will shoot anyone that comes near me. I will shoot them. I don’t know where they live. It might take a while, but I will find them.
I began my journey. I started in the village Spooktown. I almost got shot, but I escaped. The next town was Main St. and my family was there. There were guns and dead people on the road. I heard people scream and shout ‘Help!’ I was getting closer to the screaming and I was at the window. The room was in an apartment. I went upstairs. The stairs was covered in blood and I got to the room.
My family was hanging, and I got shot when I was looking for the window. I got shot from the building across the road.




Saving  Aleppo

I woke when I heard a loud BANG! I walked slowly towards what was left of my window and I peeked through what was left of the dirty glass. Suddenly a loud bang came from the door. I jumped back onto my old damp bed for the noise had scared the living daylights out of me. Then I realized that it was my annoying neighbour Mindy. I liked to call her Silly Mindy. Mindy stormed into the room like she always does but today she was crying. She told me a sad story about her father. Her father tried to stop the East and the West from fighting, but the two sides shot him dead!
Then I spent the last hour calming Mindy down. Then I offered her some milk and cookies. I reached into the fridge and then into the cupboard and I realized that I had no milk and cookies at all! So Mindy and I sneaked behind the broken buildings and sneaked into the shop and took all the food we could carry! Then we ran as fast as we could back to my apartment and had something to eat!
Mindy and I became great friends over the past two weeks and we learned more about each other and realized that we had a lot in common. Another loud BANG! came from outside and Mindy and I both agreed right then that we had to stop this war. We sat there thinking for hours and finally we had a plan. It was risky but we knew that we could do it! Our plan was to send a note to the army and to steal all their weapons. That night we sneaked in to their tents and stole all their weapons. Just as I put the note, down a soldier woke up and saw me. We ran so fast, sparks came off the soles of my shoes! We fell asleep worried and very sleepy.
The next morning at 5:00 O’ clock we set all the weapons on fire! Later on in the day the two sides came. I started the conversation and the two enemies made peace and we were all happy. Unfortunately we both became sick in hospital but we got better! I was so happy that I became friends with Mindy and we were voted to be Aleppo’s heroes and that is the story of two young girls who saved Aleppo!



Surviving in Aleppo

Hi! My name is Anya and I am twelve years old. I live in Aleppo, which is in Syria. Syria is a beautiful country. It is flat and has a large desert. Unfortunately our country is at war and Aleppo isn’t a very nice place to be at the moment. I live with my mother and my two sisters Ola and Lil. I haven’t seen my dad for two years. He is a brilliant doctor and worked long hours in the hospital. When the hospital was bombed, my dad’s body was never found and, all I can do is pray that he is alive. I am writing this diary so that people will understand life in Aleppo and so that more people will try to help us.
October 5th 2016
I am very tired as we were up all night. My sister Lil was vomiting. It might be because of the water we drank yesterday. We don’t have any fresh drinking water anymore. Sometimes when I know that it is safe to leave home I fill a container with water from a tank provided by the Red Cross, but most of the time we have to drink dirty water. I was so worried about her, but this morning she seems to be a lot better. I am just going to the tank at the Red Cross to get fresh water now. I will write again tomorrow.
October 6th 2016
Last night was horrible! We had an awful air raid attack on our house. I was eating bread with my sisters, when my mother ran towards us. There was a look of panic in her eyes and she was ushering us under the table. ‘A bomb’ she kept screaming as she pulled me and my sisters close to her. I had no time to think about what I thought I’d heard. The ground shook as I heard a loud ‘BOOM’. My mind froze, but I could hear the sound of screaming. Tears were coming to my eyes as I watched the wall on the left side of our house collapsed. My heart was beating so fast and I was struggling to breathe. It was a relief that the four of us survived, but our house was ruined and our back garden was destroyed. I had no idea what we were going to do.
October 7th 2016
Last night it was very hard to sleep as we only had one light blanket and we were sleeping in a small alley. I kept thinking about what had happened, and, after a long time, I cried myself to sleep. I am writing this from my Aunt Sara’s house, we had arrived early this morning. I am really missing my school. I enjoy writing and reading so much and I am so grateful that the Red Cross was able to give me three reading books and this diary. I haven’t been to school in six months as my school was bombed. The Red Cross are thinking about making a safe school in an underground cave. I really hope they do because I will be able to learn again.
Life is a struggle, but we are surviving. It is my sister’s birthday tomorrow. I hope that by the time my sister is nine or ten, the civil war will be over and we will live a better life.
Thank you for reading,




Surviving In Aleppo 

One day I was casually walking home from school in Aleppo. It was at 1:30pm. I heard a bomb go off in a building. I ran back home as fast as I could. When I got home, we packed bags with food and water. We each got a shovel and dug a hole in our back gardens. We could safely hide there from the bombing and the Syrian rebels. One of our neighbours saw us digging a hole and quickly ran over to us with all their food from their house. They asked us could they stay with us. My parents were happy to share the hole with them. I was happy as well because I was friends with their one son, Akram.
We were in the hole for three hours straight when my Dad decided to hand out sandwiches and a bottle of water each. He gave us that because he we were going to be there for another couple of days. I was taking a drink from the water bottle when suddenly I heard machine guns firing. Then another bomb went off. The place was getting even more lively every five minutes. My Dad made little holes for us to peek out and see what was happening. I could see people lying on the ground, in blood pools and bricks. Buildings losing their shape with all the bombs that went off.
Two days later, we took a peek out the holes to see if there were Syrian rebels walking around the place. It seemed a bit quiet. A helicopter landed outside our house. People from the Red Cross hopped out. We shouted out “Help!” They looked at us but then a Syrian rebel shot shot them in the head. Once the rebel left, my Dad said we weren’t safe here. We had to move from the hole. We grabbed our bags and made a run through all our neighbours’ backyards. We reached a safe place where we dug another hole and stayed there for the night.
I woke up the next morning and everyone was waiting for me to wake up. I asked them what was wrong. They said “Akram’s father was shot last night”.He had left something important at the first hole .My Dad was crying because he let Akram’s Dad go back to the hole. I said to my Dad to try and cheer him up “Everyone makes mistakes.”
A couple of hours later, we heard helicopters. We took a peek out. It was the Syrian Army and the Red Cross. We ran to them and the doctors had a look at us. The army flew us to the capital of Syria, Damascus. We flew on an aeroplane with other Syrian civilians. We landed in Knock Airport Co. Mayo. We hopped in a taxi and went to Mayo County Council where they supplied us with clothes, food and a house. My family were very happy with all the stuff they gave us.
The neighbours were lovely people and helped us with any difficulties we had. I appreciated being in a country that wasn’t at war.



Surviving in Aleppo

Life feels great! My name is Malika. I am 11 years old. I have two younger brothers, Ma”mum and Malatee. My best friend is Maarja. The sun is shining and the hills are green. People are working and selling clothes and jewellery. My parents work in a little shop down the road. My friend and I love to roll down the hills and make daisy chains. My brothers love to play football.  
My family and I are going on a morning walk when....BOOM! Bombs started falling from the sky. My family and I sprinted to the hospital. I looked back and saw women, men and children falling on the ground while bullets and bombs where flying everywhere.
When we got to hospital, the doctors took my youngest brother first and after a minute my brother fell to the ground and was gone. The doctors explained to my parents that when chlorine bombs came he took too much and that is what caused his death.
My parents were devastated. A man took him and threw his body with all the other 1,000 people. I looked through the window and saw men getting ready to fire guns. I told my parents “we got to get out of here”. We went through a secret tunnel and were safe. 3, 2, 1... BOOM! Bombs and bullets went straight to the hospital. We said lots of prayers for them while we had some fresh food and clean water. My parents thought that it was not safe here so we crawled out of the tunnel.
We were out, but then I heard...I woke up and realised that I was shot on my foot. I crawled and saw my two brothers” bodies on the ground. As I whipped my tears away I saw my parents bodies hung upside down and men were shooting them. Then suddenly a man had spotted me and...

Leah G


Surviving in Aleppo

My name is Amira. I am eleven years old. Until two weeks ago, my life was perfectly normal.
I live in Aleppo. I have three sisters and two brothers. It all started a fortnight ago, on the 15th of November. Two of my sisters, one of my brothers and I were walking home from school when we heard an aeroplane flying low over our heads. There was nothing unusual about it, until we heard a whistling noise. They were dropping bombs on Aleppo!! One of the planes turned slightly and I caught a glimpse of the Russian flag! I turned to tell my siblings but I saw that they were rooted to the spot. A bomb was just about to fall on the fancy restaurant on the Main Street!! For a moment, everything was silent except the now distant drone of the planes. Then the restaurant exploded.
Rubble flew everywhere as my siblings and I dived for cover. I peeked out and I saw that the restaurant was now a smoking pile of stones. I just hoped that no-one was in or around the area. Dust billowed everywhere. It filled my mouth with a dry chalky taste and made me splutter and wheeze. It must have been a direct hit. We had to get home. We had to warn our family and friends.
We had to get out of Aleppo. Alive
One week later..
Bullets tore the ground up at my feet as I sprinted down the narrow alleyway. All except one building here had been reduced to rubble. I was on my way to Rasha’s house. Her family owned a grocery shop underneath their house but they closed it recently as a result of the war. As our families are very close, they allowed us to share their food with them. We came and got it ourselves, which was very dangerous. The people who were in charge of the lifeboats were charging way too much money to get to Europe, at least fifty thousand pounds! We couldn’t afford it, so we are still stuck here.
The war has been raging for three months now, and there’s still no sign of escaping. The city is dead, no life in it at all. I heard that Rasha’s family would be leaving in three or four days. That would mean much less food and we would be one of the last remaining families left in this godforsaken place. Suddenly, I heard a knock on the door. We opened and, to our surprise, a man stood there with a cross on his jacket. “I’m here to get you to safety” he said. We looked at each other and burst into tears of joy. There was no time to lose. We brought a little food and hurried outside. We kept to the shadows all the way to a green bus. There were five other families, a few couples and people travelling on their own. Two hours later we were on a fairly big boat. The journey to Germany took three weeks but we finally made it. When we arrived, the hustle was horrendous. I still can’t believe that we made it out of there with no casualties.
The only way to survive Aleppo is to get out of it.



Surviving in Aleppo

I lay under my bed praying for this horrid war to end. Every day I hear the war planes and the bombing is becoming more and more frequent. I never get any sleep. It’s terrifying wondering how long you have left to live. I sometimes wonder would it be better if I was dead.
My parents have been discussing fleeing for quite some time. I saw my mother putting our small amount of clothing in a rugged old backpack. Our food supplies have been running out since the beginning of November. My mother said with tears rolling down her Mediterranean skin, that government camps would be provided with food supplies. The next day, the decision was to flee our house. We got the green bus. As it was driving away from our neighbourhood, I heard a loud thud. As I looked around I saw our house fall to pieces. We were as lucky as black cats to escape.
We reached the government camp in western Aleppo later that night. We walked into the big hall crammed with people, like sardines in a tin. I looked around and saw some familiar faces. I was so surprised to see so many wounded people. Every young child was wailing and screaming. I felt safer no. I could see supply it was like a super market. We wandered by open-mouthed past the food supply we were so hungry. We had not eaten for so long. We found a free area just big for my family. We lay on our camp beds hoping for some sleep, but we knew it would be as predicted, impossible.
We woke up at 3am. The floor was shaking and pieces of plaster from the roof landed on my head. We heard the explosions of a bomb nearby. We all ran, hoping to survive. I sprinted with my two brothers Abda and Ali. My mother and father were running as fast as they could behind us. My brothers and i managed to escape the building safely. We looked around for our parents. We realised the building had been destroyed by the bomb and the remains lay strewn across the floor. My brothers and burst into shock of our loss. Suddenly we saw a man approaching with a gun. I had no chance to live. I felt the bullet bore razor sharp into my chest. Blood was flowing everywhere. I fell to the ground and in the process i hit my head off a piece of rock from the building. It was then that I thought we would have been better off at home. Hopefully when I reach heaven, I will once again re-join my family and we will live a peaceful upbringing without war and violence.

Saoirse G


Surviving in Aleppo

Hello, my name Adnan Shaaban and I live in Aleppo. Most days all you hear is the sound of bombs blowing but today is a good day, there were no bombs today. When we get a day without any bombs it is a special day. The war has been going on for more than four years. More than three people have died and thousands for have had to flee there homes to keep their families safe. Many of my friends have died in the wars. If you really want to survive in Aleppo, you’re going to have to find a way to survive from explosions and starvation. If you are going to have any chance of surviving all the different types of airstrikes, shells, rockets and cluster bombs, first of all, you’re going to have to live on the lower levels of buildings. It is less likely you’ll get struck there compared to being on the upper floors.
If a bombs hits the top of a building it will most likely only destroy one or two floors. My home is on the second floor of a six-story building. The Russian military have launched a coordinated assault on my city last month. The jets have been using new bombs that blow up the whole building but hopefully they don’t hit my building. If you ever think about visiting Aleppo, make sure you stay out of any rooms near windows as light attracts bombers and snipers. I keep my front room for storage so I rarely go into it. If you have kids they’re going to have to stay off the streets or else they’ll be killed. Now all I do all day is stay in my home all day. Nearly every neighbourhood has an underground school to keep the students away from danger. The teachers are just local volunteers. If you have a car, you’ll have a very hard time finding gas for it. Staying at home all day can get very boring but it’s better than being trapped in a destroyed building. You know when it’s a dangerous day and when it’s a safe day. If you have a television, make sure to watch the news every day or listen to a radio to hear the update. Hearing bombs going off can be very hard and every day you feel it could be your last day in life. You might try to grow vegetables in your garden if you have one. It can be very hard to find patches of grass that hasn’t been burnt from bombs or sparks landing on it. Even after writing this story, I am still enjoying my life and I am hanging on to life for as long as I can.




Surviving In Aleppo

For the last few years I could hear the whistle of the planes fly over the hotel and the bang of the bombs every hour. Some days were quieter than other days because you could actually leave your apartment to go and visit friends and get some food. There were no shops as all of them had been demolished from the bombs. There was dead bodies all over the streets, the buildings were destroyed by the warfare. The cement bricks were shattered on the ground. Every day I thought to myself “I could die today”. You always had to be listening for the plane so you would know when they might strike again. Also you had to have a gas mask when you were walking down the streets in case there was tear gas. My hotel got hit once by a rocket. Thankfully, it hit the top and that’s usually were the airstrikes would occur. It was far safer to be on the ground floor although it was much more expensive.
Thinking back now, I had a great life before the war started. I had a great family lots of friends and a job as an accountant. It all changed in a blink of an eye when my family got taken by the Russian military and the war began.
In Aleppo, I exercised every day to try and keep my mind sharp and not to do anything crazy, like try to escape. My biggest worry was food but luckily my friend supplied it to me. He got food every two weeks. I didn’t want to ask where he got it because I was just so thankful for it. I got a loaf of bread, butter and a carton of milk. That would only last me two weeks, so if the planes didn’t stop dropping bombs I wouldn’t be able to go and get more. Every moment with your friends was precious, and when you said goodbye, you knew it could be the last time you would ever see them.
Aleppo used to be the biggest city in Syria and now it is one of the smallest. Sometimes when I get up in the morning and I hear no planes or bombs going off, I think it may be over. But I try not to get my hopes up because I’II just be so disappointed if I find out that the war is still going on. I wonder will the war ever end. It’s been going on for four years now and nothing has changed. I deserve the right to live in my own city and not be petrified all the time thinking about when they’re going to strike again.




My name is Jeb Hanna. I am a soldier, one of many who fight againsed the opposition. When my family were forced to leave our home, long before the war, all six of us were living on the street, in broken shelters or anywhere that could fit six starving people. My mother, father, brother and two sisters died of starvation shortly after that. I was the lucky survivor. At eleven years old I was taken in by a foster family in England. Ther people there took good care of me over many years but when I turned eighteen, I had no money and I couldn’t stay at the foster home forever. That’s when I received a letter from the army in Syria asking me if I wanted to join them. How they found me I don’t know, but it was my only option to go because the foster home couldn’t afford to keep me any longer.
I woke up early that morning with the acrid aroma of smoke in the air. Quickly, I jogged outside, to find the east wing of the barracks up in flames. The blazing fire was red hot but not spreading. We’d been bombed by the civilians. The general told us all to eat, get dressed and prepare for battle. As a bomb fired from the cannon, there came a sudden bang of gunfire. The rebellions were coming. We all grabbed our guns and started shooting.

The battle had made its way to the town where people were being shot by the second. There was a middle-aged woman over by a small hut. I trudged over to her and raised my gun, the rifle tip pointing at her chest. I was about to pull the trigger when I paused and lowered my gun. The young woman was trembling, begging me not to kill her. Something about her expression made me stop and think. I couldn’t shoot her…I just couldn’t. She’s just an innocent human being. Overwhelmed by what I had just done, I walked into and abandoned-looking house and slumped down on an old, creaking stool. I had never failed to shoot anyone before, ever.

Suddenly, a young man burst into the room. He was holding a shard of glass in a threatening way. I put my hands up in surrender. He looked surprised at my surrender and put his weapon down. Very cautiously, the man walked over to me. He asked why I was in his house. He sounded confident but there was a note of fear in his voice. I started telling him my little story about what had just happened and about how I hated being a soldier. Surprisingly, he listened to every word I spoke. The man then introduced himself as Paolo Biscotti. I also introduced myself and we both shook hands. Paolo started telling me about his life and we actually had a lot in common. Suddenly, I heard one of the soldiers calling everyone to retreat. I bid Paolo farewell and ran out of his house.
Back at the barracks, we were all assembled to discuss the battle. The meeting was brief but, before it was dismissed, the general called me forward in his booming voice. He slapped me hard on the back of my neck. ‘In this army!’ he roared. ‘We do what we are told!’ Everyone fell silent. ‘Is that clear?’ ‘Yes’ murmered the soldiers. “If you do what you did today again Hanna,” he whispered to me, “you will be executed!” 

Suddenly, there came the noise of the security alarm. Somebody had broken in. That person grabbed my arm and pulled me away! I didn’t know what to do but I just kept running. When finally came to halt, the hooded figure revealed itself.




Aleppo 2016

It is currently 6:17pm. I am hiding in what seems to be a tunnel. I was terrified! I could hear bombs, gunshots, buildings plunging down, aeroplanes, sirens, people screaming and more horrifying sounds. I tried to poke my head out to see if it was starting to quieten down, I couldn’t see a thing. I had to move a few bricks to peer out. The sight was horrifying!!
I couldn’t hear any really loud noises, so I slowly rose out of the tunnel. I stood up and I looked around the city in horror. All of the buildings were destroyed. They were all smashed and there were massive holes in the buildings. There were dead bodies everywhere. I walked around for a bit and I could see blood trickling out of their bodies. It was horrible!! There were puddles of blood beside the bodies.
I reached the middle of the city. It was suddenly really quiet. Then I heard someone calling for help. I rushed around following their voice. I eventually found the person. She was trapped under a building that had collapsed. I had to lift five heavy bricks to save her.
Her name was Juliette. She thanked me so many times for saving her. She told me her house had been destroyed because someone had dropped a bomb on it. We became really good friends. We were talking for ages. Juliette told me she had come to Aleppo because she was travelling. We had both come to Aleppo while travelling. We both had nowhere to stay overnight. I told her about the tunnel. We went out looking for food. We didn’t get much but it was enough for the night. We hid in the tunnel and we said that we would sleep here tonight.
Night had fallen. It was a really cold night. We were really cold. I had my watch on. It was 1:43am. We suddenly woke up. We heard footsteps coming closer. The footsteps came to a stop. There were people looking down at us. We got the fright of our life. To be continued…

Leah R



I never asked for much, and I wasn’t a bad person, but it seemed as though Allah was punishing me, because now I’m running down the streets of my broken city alone, looking for revenge.

It all started on my twelfth birthday. I was at home, or what I called home, anyone else would have called it a shack or just ugly in general, but that didn’t bother me, I was told I take criticism very well. Or I used to anyway, but something changed that day.

There had been terrorist attacks for a while now. They had been popping up on the news for months so it wasn’t unusual that there had been another attack but it was unusual that it happened in my town, everyone was told to close the curtains, and lock the doors, and stay down. Everybody rushed around frantically closing curtains and locking doors. We had been ducked down, hiding for over an hour. You could almost smell the fear off my family. Outside my window, I could hear machine guns firing. With every bullet I counted one Mississippi, two Mississippi three, Mississippi...

I suddenly heard footsteps gradually making their way upstairs. One step I gulped. Five steps, I shook. Ten steps, a tear ran down my red cheek. Fifteen steps I heard him outside the door. He twisted the knob. Machine guns fired my heart pounded. I closed my eyes as he began firing. Bullets flashed past my ear, giving me goosebumps. My Uncle swiftly pushed me under some clothes. I counted again, One Mississippi, two Mississippi when it stopped. I couldn’t hear anything, but my heart pounding in my chest. I had been ducked down, not daring to move for so long my back began to ache. I finally worked up the courage to get up. I gagged and clutched my heart. A thick smell of blood flew up my nose. I stumbled back in disbelief. My father, my mother and my uncle lay there in a pool of their own red blood.

I stayed in the house for two days as I didn’t know where to go. After a while I stopped hearing screams. What I was doing I didn’t know, where I was going I don’t know. I just knew I was looking for revenge against the soldier with a scar on his face.




Alone in Aleppo

My name is Akram and I live in Aleppo, Syria. A week ago my house was destroyed in a bombing and my whole family was killed. Now I’m alone, hungry and afraid.

The war started in 2012. My family and I managed to live normal enough lives but alas, our luck ended. The last week has been tough for me. I’ve been hiding in alleyways, running through the streets and evading the gunfire. I did not have a favourite side, I only wanted peace. I had made myself a shelter in an abandoned building. Every day I go into the streets to find food. Today I found nothing. The sun was going down so I prepared myself for bed. Sleep came fast for once. Then a bang woke me up. I looked around and saw only darkness. Then I heard footsteps and I gasped to see a group of rebels walk into the room.

If I didn’t move, maybe they wouldn’t see me. “We will set up camp here”, said one of the men “I think it’s safe”, said another man.”Let’s get Victor”. And they left the room. I grabbed my belongings and jumped out the window. Luckily it was only a two storey building.

I ran recklessly into the night. I thought I had got away until I heard fast paced footsteps crashing against the sandy cobblestone. I felt a hand grab my t-shirt. I turned to see a ragged unshaven man, who was probably one of the rebels. “Come with me”, he growled. I guess I had no choice so I obeyed.

The rebel brought me back to the building I had run from. There were four other men waiting for me outside the building. The rebel threw me to the ground. “Who are you?!” he shouted. M..m..m my name is Akram”. I stuttered. “He’s a spy! I can smell the soldier scum all over him!” “Take it easy, he’s only a kid”, said the leader. “Is that where you live?” he said pointing at the building.”I guess,” I replied. “Do you mind if we could bunk in for a while?” I thought about that. Maybe they could protect me and find me food. “Yes.”
From that day on I became their sixth member. They gave me food, they protected me and they even played soccer with me. Sometimes I would spy for them and I didn’t really mind because I was no longer alone.




Living in Aleppo

HI, my name is Jane Hussey, and I am a war correspondent writing about life in Aleppo.
Aleppo is a very old city and has a long history about being a trading centre midway between the Mediterranean Sea and Iraq. Since the battle of Aleppo started in 2012, the city has suffered massive destruction. It is currently split between the government-held western part of Syria and the rebel held east.
The city looks horrific after the bomb damage. It appears as if a giant had trodden all over the place smashing buildings, cars and homes into the ground and covering everything with dust. The place looks so grey except where there are children. They stand out in their colourful clothes. There are no building materials. When a shop or home is destroyed, it stays that way. Syrians move from one area to another to avoid bombings and can live with up to five or six different families in one building.
Food is in short supply. There are no markets or shops to buy food from. Very poor people are cooking leaves from trees. All of the food has gone up in price. The children are getting water from wells that are not clean and which are unsafe to drink from. They have bombed six hospitals and there are only 35 doctors left to treat a lot of people. It is very dangerous to be a doctor as you are risking your life. 
Parents are too scared to send their children to school. Many children have lost their fathers and they are forced to work. They do sewing, selling and carrying stuff. A normal child’s life in Aleppo is constantly watching TV, bringing food and water for their families, and listening to the bombs going off every which way. They are now talking of building playgrounds underground, so that children have somewhere safe to play. I am very thankful for what I have, and that there is no bombing in Ireland. I hope that the bombing stops, and that there is some way to sort out these problems.
This is Jane Hussey, reporting to you from Aleppo, Syria, on December 1st, 2016.



Surviving  Aleppo

Let me tell you about Aleppo. Aleppo is a city in Syria, and is the capital of the Aleppo area. It is the most populous Syrian district. It is overrun by foreign-backed militia. The population was 2.302 million in 2005. It only has one airport and four universities. It is now a city of destruction. Now I am still living here in this ruined city. Here is how it happened.
My family and I decided to go on a holiday to Dubai for a winter holiday. We packed our bags and bought our tickets. We went to the airport and boarded the plane.  A few hours into the flight, there was some turbulence. Everyone started to freak out.  We crash landed and were not allowed to take off again. We all needed to walk to the border.
On our way, we had to cross through Aleppo. We heard screams, cries, and gun shots. There were bombs and there was blood. We ended up staying in an abandon apartment, which was old but warm. The next morning we could hear the bombs going off, gunshot and it seemed as there was no end to the chaos.
Before we were crossing the border, we had to cross the city and not let any soldier see us. I could see the dust and feel it in my lungs. I could see the smoke and terrified families struggling through it. I was anxious not to be left behind.
We got some directions from a family. We were at the border where they asked for our passports. We gave them our passports and got past. In the next city, we got a plane to Dubai. What an interesting trip!




It was 4 o’clock in the morning and I had been woken by the bombs blowing up just metres from my upstairs window.  I tried to go back to sleep several times but it was no use. The blasting bombs outside sounded like glass shattering in my ear.

My whole family woke up at forty minutes past five because we heard a really loud bomb. We all sneaked out of the house to see that someone had blown up the building next to us. We had to think fast, because we were next.

We finally left our house and entered the broken city of Aleppo. It was horrible. The walls were shattered and there were glass shards all over the ground. And worst of all there was black soot in the air so, whenever I inhaled, I started coughing a lot. We could hear guns firing left, right and centre as we were making our way up the ruined street. As we were walking up the street, someone killed my family but I escaped. I ran to a nearby building to hide.

It smelled so bad in the building because there was a dead body in the corner. It had flies all over it. I had no choice but to stay at least until the guy who killed my family left. I didn’t have to wait much longer because a helicopter came to save me. When I got on the helicopter, someone gave me tea and biscuits and I never had to worry about war again.




Surviving in Aleppo

I stared into my Mum’s eyes as the building surrounding us collapsed one by one. It was very smoky and dusty. My eyes were extremely red and sore from the dust irritating them. You could smell the horrific smell of all the dead bodies lying around.

Hi! My name’s Emma. I’ve lived in Aleppo for my whole life. As you probably know it’s not the nicest place to live in by a long way. There’s a lot of fighting going on here. Long story short, the rebels had taken over Aleppo along with many more cities in Syria in 2011. They also used the Syrians as their slaves and a lot were slaughtered and tortured. The Syrians fought back with the Russians helping them. That brings me to where I am now.

All I could hear was bomb after bomb, gun shot after gun shot. There were small kids bawling their eyes out looking for their parents. I felt so sorry and hurt for them even though I wasn’t much better off because I had lost my Dad and younger brother about a year ago when they were bombing our house. My Dad and brother went one way and my Mum and I went the opposite direction without noticing. It was terrible. We prayed and prayed every day for ages hoping we could meet them again someday. We lost hope after a while.

It was actually horrible, living on the side of the road. It was worse than you could ever imagine. It was hard not been able to sleep at night. You might only get an hour sleep if you were lucky. I was so hungry I could have probably died from the hunger if a bomb wouldn’t kill me first. I prayed so hard every day for someone to come and rescue me and my mum from this horrible existence.

It seemed like we were living like this for weeks, months, years even! I didn’t know. It was a long time anyway. Then all my prayers came true. A lovely group of people came to rescue us. They brought us to a refugee camp.

We stayed there for a few months. They gave us lots of food and drink and lots of clothes to keep warm. They also gave us a cosy little room with a nice comfy bed in it.

Then one day, we couldn’t believe it, we bumped into my dad and brother who had been living on the other side of the camp. I was so happy I squeezed my dad and brother so hard. We cried so much and said that we could never split up again. We asked a Red Cross official could we get a room for the whole family and they said ‘yes’.
After a few months at the refugee camp, we got resettled in this lovely country called Ireland. We bought a lovely new house and had amazing neighbours.



Surviving in Aleppo

Aleppo was a peaceful city with vibrant markets. Everything was ok until President Bashar al Assad started a civil war. Once the fighting started, my life changed forever. Twice I was left fighting for my life in hospital.  The conditions there were not very good They were awful. The first time I was coming home from school and got shot. The second time, I was injured when a bomb exploded nearby.

Thank God I am ok now but I always am a bit silly. Still, I have a lot of bad memories but hope to get over them. I don’t enjoy my life here, but I have to carry on. I wake up every day and wonder if it is going to be my last day on earth. Somehow I don’t get caught so I am happy about that.

My friends have tried to go and failed, but help has come and rescued them. They are long since gone. One day there was knock on the door. It was help. They said we were going to Ireland and that they gave us 500 euro to get us  started. I was so happy.