Militants tried to ruin the Christmas tree lighting ceremony as joyful crowds were chanting, singing and waving the Syrian national flag. An explosion took place on a street adjacent to the square in the al-Aziziyah neighborhood, forcing the crowds to flee in panic, but the attack failed to disrupt the event for long. People returned to the square minutes after the incident happened, a testament to how resilient and sturdy they have become to terrorism.
The explosion did not inflict any casualties, but provided a powerful reminder that the war, largely fueled from the outside, has not been resolved yet and that major battles are looming. However, Damascus' victory in Aleppo offers hope that sustainable peace in the city and the country is on the horizon.
The Christmas celebration in al-Aziziyah is still an uncommon site for Aleppo. But it paints a picture of a city making an effort to put the nearly six-years-long conflict behind it, a stark contrast to dubious claims that Aleppo residents have suffered at the hands of the Syrian Arab Army and its allies following the city's liberation. Despite the fact that there has been no confirmation that these assertions are credible, they have been picked up by the mainstream media in the West.