- Title: Syrians find escape in dance and music in war-torn Aleppo
- Date: 6th October 2016
- Summary: SINGER PERFORMING ON STAGE PEOPLE DANCING
- Embargoed: 21st October 2016 16:25
- Keywords: Syria Aleppo night life war conflict music dance
- Location: ALEPPO, SYRIA
- City: ALEPPO, SYRIA
- Country: Syria
- Topics: Conflicts/War/Peace,Military Conflicts
- Reuters ID: LVA00452VC8CN
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Pounding music in an Aleppo nightclub barely muffled the sound of exploding bombs nearby, but that has not deterred young party-goers from dancing the night away.
More than 600 people spent their evening at the spacious "Freedom" family club, located in the government-controlled Seryan neighbourhood of the city.
Young Syrians danced till the early hours of the morning, with flashing lights and dance music serving as a distraction from the ongoing war.
Last month, the army - backed by Shi'ite militias from Lebanon and Iraq, and by Russian jets - launched a new offensive involving one of the five-year-old war's heaviest bombardments in eastern Aleppo after a week-long ceasefire collapsed.
Air strikes and shelling on rebel-held eastern Aleppo, and insurgent shelling of the government-held west of the city, have killed hundreds of civilians since the offensive began on Sept. 19, according to residents and war monitors.
The ferocity of the bombardment, which has included repeated air strikes on hospitals in rebel-held areas, has drawn intense criticism from aid agencies, with the U.N.'s rights chief on Tuesday warning it may amount to a war crime.
But for those in the club, dancing the night away is one of the few ways to escape from the harsh realities of war.
"The party is great, we are trying to escape the pressures of war through this nice atmosphere. There is nothing else we can do, we have to make ourselves happy in these circumstances that we are living in." Nuha Farraj.
Another man at the venue, Fares Ahmar, said those killed are never far from his mind.
"Aleppo is now in a lot of pain, there are a lot of rockets, blood and martyrs. But life goes on, we are definitely sad for the loss of the martyrs and for every drop of blood spent, but life must go on, we want to prove to people, prove to the West that picks only on Syria, we want to show them that life here continues, the people here are proof," he said.
The rebel-held eastern zone of Aleppo has been effectively besieged by the army and its allies since mid-September, and about half of its approximately 275,000 inhabitants may want to leave as food and fuel runs short, the U.N. said on Wednesday (October 5).
The civil war in Syria has killed more than 250,000 people and displaced 11 million more.
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