- Title: Syrian singer stages show in war-battered Aleppo
- Date: 26th July 2017
- Summary: VARIOUS OF PERFORMANCE IN PROGRESS AUDIENCE GATHERED
- Embargoed: 9th August 2017 15:28
- Keywords: Syrian war second largest city Aleppo Citadel Syrian singer Shadi Jamil
- Location: ALEPPO, SYRIA
- City: ALEPPO, SYRIA
- Country: Syria
- Topics: Conflicts/War/Peace
- Reuters ID: LVA0086RCQG5X
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: EDITORS PLEASE NOTE: PART AUDIO AS INCOMING
As the sun sets over Aleppo, hundreds of people poured into the city's historic citadel for a show that hasn't been staged here in years.
The harmonious melodies of Syrian singer Shadi Jamil filled the air, replacing the ear-shattering sounds of shells and gunfire.
Jamil's Tuesday (July 25) night show is the first time a performance has been staged at the ancient citadel since the Syrian war started six years ago.
Returning to his hometown, Jamil spoke of his pride and happiness at being able to perform at the symbolic site.
"I felt proud of the huge number of people, it's a happiness that I don't give to anyone because I knew the love of people towards me. For me, the citadel is a symbol of our pride and history. We sing for the history. Today we sing in the Aleppo citadel that represents every honest Aleppo citizen," said the singer.
Before the war, Aleppo's ancient walled citadel drew in armies of visitors to one of the Middle East's greatest treasures.
The citadel's high stone ramparts had been on the front line of fighting pitting the Syrian army and its allies against rebels who occupied much of the Old City surrounding the fortress.
Now with an end to the warfare in Aleppo, the city is entirely in the government's hands, with this event organised by the Syrian Tourism Ministry.
Those at the show danced and soaked up the jubilant atmosphere.
"This day is historic for Aleppo and the citadel. We, as Aleppo citizens, came from all Syrian cities to attend the first concert for seven years. Since 2010, the Aleppo citadel has not hosted any concerts. So, all the people of Aleppo are taking part in this concert in order to send a united message that Aleppo is still here and will return by God's will," said a student Ahmad.
The United Nations says about 200,000 people have returned to east Aleppo after it emptied during the fighting, mostly from temporary accommodation in areas held by the government.
Despite Aleppo's fractured state, people here are keen to unite under a musical banner to rebuild their city and look to the future.
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