On a cool morning, an elderly man is standing at his espresso machine on a street in eastern Aleppo. It’s shortly after 8 a.m., and this part of the city — destroyed in the war and reconquered by the regime in December — is waking up. Green grocers arrive and set out their boxes of produce on the rubble piled in front of their stores. Others are shoveling debris from the roads.The name of the man with the espresso machine must go unmentioned, otherwise he would soon be dead. A fire is burning in a metal drum next to his improvised coffee counter, and he is using it to periodically warm his hands. Several weeks ago, just after the neighborhood was retaken, he returned to the small workshop where he had run a motorcycle repair shop — but it was already too late. He immediately saw that someone had shot open the lock.
Assad Power Slips in Syria as Warlords Grow More Powerful