For months, two Arab cities have been the focus of world attention. Aleppo in northern Syria and Mosul, northern Iraq, are two of the most important and most beautiful representatives of historic civilisations. They were once connected as part of the same nation before becoming separated by borders some 100 years ago.
No one could have imagined that circumstances would push them back to the darkest of days, outside of history and unrepresentative of civilisation, that their noble peoples would be oppressed by some of the the most backward minds of the era.
Yet today Aleppo languishes under siege with its people are deprived of the basic needs for life. Meanwhile, Mosul is occupied, and its people are subject to intimidation and odious authoritarianism, by Daesh – a vile group who disguise their actions with the words of Islam yet everything they do is offensive to the true faith.
These cities have played the most prominent roles in civilisation, as they contain diversity within them. They are where ideas and beliefs mingle, converge, and fuse, and cultures and coexistence is born within them.
There are very few cities that are similar to Aleppo and Mosul, but most of them are located in the Arab region. These cities contributed to creating the unique spirit of the Middle East, or what used to be unique through the coexistence of various religions and doctrines. Perhaps there in lies its impulsiveness and recklessness that has driven it towards its great demise Aleppo and Mosul were examples of such coexistence.
That Aleppo, the one we know and remember, only exists in old books and pictures now; That Aleppo had highest number of documented churches located next to mosques; In that Aleppo, people of different faiths mingled and worshiped next to each other, on the same street. That Aleppo was home to second largest Christian community, comprising Syriacs, Latin Maronites, Catholics, and Orthodox, after Beirut, lived side by side with the Muslims, Kurds and Armenians lived amongst the Arab majority .
In Mosul, the Kurds, Turkmens, and Armenians lived side by side with the Arabs, and the historical city of Nineveh was the most important centre for the gathering of Syriacs and all of their churches. The Muslims share with the Christians, Mandaeans, Yazidis and Shabaks the legacies and the developments of time.
These nations and communities would not have been connected and continued to live together without societal safety and security. This was more so created by the efforts of the various factions than a fruit of internal or foreign will. What Aleppo and Mosul are experiencing today are the opposite of such efforts. The international and regional conflicts have utilised all they have in order to seize areas here and there from the figures who call on those from their own religions and races to stay in their lands despite the growing constraints.
If these two models were not the ultimate target, then the heart of the Iraqi and Syrian cities would not have been turned into hotspots for combative conflicts that have attracted two superpowers in order to try out the newest tools of murder and destruction in the American and Russian arsenals. It is no coincidence that two regional powers, Israel and Iran, are the only two benefitting from this in their quest for influence and dominance over the Arabs. It also isn’t a coincidence that ISIS, who was created by everyone’s contributed, is the only justification and excuse they are using to serve their interests.
Since Israel’s inception, it has considered the coexistence of nations and religions in the Middle East as the biggest threat to it, hence why it made penetrating this coexistence one of its strategic goals. It attempted to destabilise the Lebanese model, but was unable to destroy it, despite the fact that the model is no longer the way it was. Israel also supported the Iraqi Kurds’ separation project and encouraged the minority rule in Syria in order for both countries to remain in a state of ignited or hidden conflicts before exploding.