A big diesel train edged out of Aleppo central station this week, pulling five long grey and blue carriages, its siren wailing over the city in the afternoon sun. In this part of the world, engine drivers do well to move slowly and warn shoppers, children, even the occasional urban shepherd, to keep off the tracks. But everyone knew that this train was putting on a show. In newly united Aleppo – especially in bloodily broken, smashed eastern Aleppo – any sign of a return to civilised life is a symbol of peace, albeit one imposed by the regime.
Can reconciliation ever heal a country with conflict wounds as deep as Syria?