Two winters later, the first protests of Dar’aa and Damascus feel far away. The first few months of peaceful demonstrations, creative slogans and songs of revolution turned into an armed struggle as the regime brutally struck down those calling for the toppling of Assad and the Ba’ath party.

There are no international humanitarian aid organizations to be found. Only a trickle of the promised aid is brought in by smugglers and the Free Syrian Army (FSA). So far hundreds of thousands have fled to the neighbouring countries and more than 2 million are internally displaced. The UN estimates that 60.000 have been killed so far.

The uncertainty is all encompassing in Aleppo, whether it’s the shelling, the dwindling food supplies or the longevity of the suffering. The winter cold drives the people into desperation; they burn their furniture, cut down the trees in the parks and scavenge the abandoned schools for wood. The price of bread and gas has risen exponentially as the battle for the city continues.

Aleppo is Syria’s second city with more than 2 million inhabitants. Syria’s once bustling economical centre has come to a halt as the FSA are locked into a prolonged urban battle with the regime. It is estimated that one third of the city’s inhabitants have been displaced from their homes.

In-between the shelling the daily life continues. The rent has to be paid, finding water for the cooking becomes an obstacle, and so is standing in line for bread. Not knowing when or where the shell falls creates a constant uncertainty that follows all the daily chores. Within all this is the daily struggle for normality. To keep the thought of shelling at bay people sing and dark humour is traded to blunt the piercing situation. The uncertainty lies in the silence. If you heard the blast it means that you survived.