Two Boys, Arm in Arm, in Aleppo, Syria—Before the War (Photo of the Day)

Two boys in Aleppo--friends or brothers--enjoying a peaceful moment together

I came across this photo a few days ago and was transported back in time to Aleppo, Syria, in 2010–when I had the opportunity to travel there. Before the war. When life was peaceful.

These boys and the looks on their faces caught my eye, leading me to share the photo.

When/Where I Met the Boys: Outside the Aleppo Souk

I remember when I met them. I’d just gone shopping inside the Aleppo Souk with a friend from France. We’d been looking for the world-famous olive oil soap, which contains laurel oil and is great for one’s skin. We’d had a fun time, chatting with the locals, who were super friendly. Not just the ones trying to sell us things. Others, too.

We stepped outside of the souk, looking for a small restaurant to grab something to eat, and I spotted these boys. I loved the way they stood, arm in arm. They looked nice kids. Happy ones. They may have been children of some of the vendors inside the souk, but I’m not sure.

Who Were They?

What are their names?

Were they brothers? Or friends? Or maybe to them, it felt the same either way.

I wish I could remember if I showed them the photo after I took it. I often do that when traveling and children simply love it.

Where Are They Now?

Now, looking at these boys, I can’t help but wonder–Are they OK? Are they safe? I hope so. But there’s no way to know.

Sadly, Aleppo–the largest city in Syria–has suffered tremendous damage during the civil war. The souk has been destroyed. Many other cultural sites have also been decimated or heavily damaged.

Hoping for Peace

I hope that the war ends soon and that Syria can rebuild as quickly as possible. The country and its people have been through a lot and it’s heart-wrenching knowing that it is ongoing.

Photographic Details

Camera: FujiFilm FinePix E900
F stop: 2.8
Shutter: 1/200
ISO: 400
Filter: None

Your Thoughts/Reactions?

Have you visited a country or region that was safe and peaceful when you were there, then destabilized shortly thereafter? If so, where?

Also, do you ever look at photos you’ve taken of people you’ve encountered while traveling and wonder what they’re doing now? Have you ever found out? Or has the person’s image remained a snapshot–a moment frozen in time?

Can’t Get Enough?

Want to see more photos from around the world? Here are the other ‘photos of the day‘ (people, places and things) from several continents.

Here are additional posts from Syria in general and recent ones I’ve written as part of a retrospective:

Remembering Syria Before the War

Peacetime Reflections: a Photo Journey Through the Umayyad Mosque, Damascus

21 Responses to Two Boys, Arm in Arm, in Aleppo, Syria—Before the War (Photo of the Day)
  1. Forest Parks
    February 19, 2013 | 4:18 pm

    Beautiful image. I wish I had had a chance to visit Syria before the conflict but know that I will be able to one day in my life. As for peace though, in many ways these were not times of peace at all! Just times where the people laid down and accepted the oppression of the Syrian regime. I don’t support violence or extremes of any sort but it almost feels like the people had no other choice. Lets just hope that some silver lining really can come out of this whole sad sad sad mess :(.
    Forest Parks recently posted..Everybody Has a Story: Travel May Unlock YoursMy Profile

    • CB Driver
      February 22, 2013 | 11:58 am

      Syria was definitely an up-and-coming spot for budget travelers when I was there. I feel fortunate to have made the trip and will never forget how warm and friendly the people were there.

      As for quality of life before the war, I can’t speak for the adults living in the country, not knowing their specific situations or how the regime impacted their daily lives. I can, however, say that the children looked as if they had a sense of peace. At least they were safe back then, which is not the case now.

      I’m with you re: hoping that there’s a silver lining once the war ends. Let’s keep our fingers crossed and hope for the best!

  2. Erik
    February 24, 2013 | 1:34 am

    Amen, Lisa.

    Let’s hope these two young men have survived the horrible humanitarian disaster that they Syrian Civil War has been safely.
    Erik recently posted..New Zealand- Chapter Twenty-Six: Cape Reinga & The Spirits of the North (pt.1)My Profile

    • CB Driver
      February 24, 2013 | 8:59 am

      Thanks, Erik. Yes, let’s hope… Aleppo has been hit the hardest from what I know.

  3. Jonathan (@retrotraveller)
    February 24, 2013 | 6:50 am

    Hi Lisa, lovely image and timely post. I’ve been to Aleppo and other parts of Syria and whenever I see what is happening on the news my thoughts go to those that I met there.

    From my experience once you’ve been to a country and met the people you have a totally different view of their world. When you hear things are going bad in place you’ve visited you ‘care’ in a way you wouldn’t if you’ve never been there. This is especially true when countries you’ve been to go to war.

    Your post inspired my latest post – thanks.

    Perhaps between us we can remind people the war is still going on from our little corner of the Internet!
    Jonathan (@retrotraveller) recently posted..Syria: Kids at Resafa … where are they now?My Profile

    • CB Driver
      February 24, 2013 | 8:58 am

      Jonathan–thank you so much for stopping by and for sharing. Now I remember that you were there, too. Sad situation, isn’t it?

      True about having a different view of a country and the mini world there after visiting. There’s definitely a real sort of caring.
      Have you been to other countries that destabilized and went to war not long after you visited? Or is Syria the main one?

      I’m glad I inspired you and am coming over right now to see that post!

  4. Jonathan (@retrotraveller)
    February 24, 2013 | 10:00 am

    Syria isn’t the only one unfortunately, Egypt of course comes to mind although things are calmer there now… when these things are happening you can’t help but think about the people you’ve met and its also worth mentioning the historical sites that often get destroyed along side people’s homes and businesses.

    I recently went back to Kyrgyzstan which has had it’s troubles since my first visit… the Osh bazaar was burnt badly in riots and is many of the traders work out of shipping containers which is a real shame.
    Jonathan (@retrotraveller) recently posted..Syria: Kids at Resafa … where are they now?My Profile

    • CB Driver
      February 25, 2013 | 2:42 pm

      Egypt, too? Good that it’s better there now. Still, it’s intense when you know people in a country that has destabilized.

      Kyrgyzstan? I don’t know much about that country, but it sounds like a lot has gone on there. What a shame.

  5. Jonathan (@retrotraveller)
    February 24, 2013 | 10:19 am

    I remember my guide in Aleppo vividly, we picked him up at the border and he was so enthusiastic. He was apparently in Lonely Planet which he was really happy about. His name was Ahmed and as we went around everyone he seemed to be like a local celebrity as every we met seemed to say hello to him… another person who I’d love to know if they were OK, although I doubt he’d remember me.
    Jonathan (@retrotraveller) recently posted..Syria: Kids at Resafa … where are they now?My Profile

    • CB Driver
      February 25, 2013 | 2:44 pm

      Ahmed sounds like a nice guy. Great that he made it into the LP. That’s a big moment for them when it happens. I can imagine how everyone knew and liked him. Cool.

      I remember a woman (Jenny?) in Lake Toba in Sumatra who had a great little restaurant with killer pancakes and grilled fish that was out of this world. Many of the other restaurants were slow, but hers was always packed–and for good reason. Her food was that good and she always had a huge smile on her face.

  6. Tom @ Waegook Tom
    March 1, 2013 | 4:18 am

    Lisa, I love this photo. I haven’t been keeping up too much with what’s been going on in Syria – all I really know is that there’s a civil war. I’d planned to go there in the summer of 2010, but didn’t due to me getting super sick in Turkey. I wish I could have gone now – and Aleppo was the place I was looking forward to the most.
    Tom @ Waegook Tom recently posted..Korean Sashimi: Doing It RawMy Profile

    • CB Driver
      March 3, 2013 | 10:57 pm

      Thanks, Tom. Yeah, the war’s been pretty awful. Sadly, Aleppo–where I took this shot–has suffered tremendous damage. I didn’t know you’d been planning to go.

      Hope things resolve there soon. And maybe someday, you’ll go and I’ll return. Time will tell.

  7. Kevin Revolinski
    March 3, 2013 | 11:40 pm

    I was there in 1998 and loved it. I did get pretty sick though (from a previous trip, actually – but it hit me while in Syria) and had a crazy hitchhiking/delirious solo trip back into Turkey from Maaloula of there which made “Homs” a household word back home and a guaranteed smile or laugh. Since then “Homs” just makes me sad upon hearing it. What a g.d. tragedy they’ve suffered. Hopefully the future holds better things, and soon.

    Looks like you’ve captured one of those Syrians with the light-colored hair and amazing eyes like I’ve never seen elsewhere!
    Kevin Revolinski recently posted..Whale Watching in Japan: Humpbacks in OkinawaMy Profile

    • CB Driver
      March 7, 2013 | 11:28 pm

      Hi, Kevin. Cool that you visited Aleppo, too. You were in Maaloula? Me, too. I recall passing Homs and staying in Hama–a kind of cute but sort of bizarre sort of place. I met many travelers who’d been to Homs. So sad all that’s happened there and in Aleppo.

      The ‘crazy hitchhiking/delirious solo trip’ sounds interesting. :)

      Yes, the one boy has light hair and intense blue eyes. Looked so sweet. Hope he’s OK…

      • Kevin Revolinski
        March 7, 2013 | 11:32 pm

        Maaloula… oh yes… spent a night there delirious in the convent, unable to eat or drink, then hitchhiked to Homs, minivan to Turkey, crossed border alone in a double decker bus full of barrels of diesel fuel. Yawn, just the usual. 😉 It’s the only non-Turkey chapter in The Yogurt Man Cometh and probably the worst/best travel story I’ll ever have. I’ve got one of those green-eyes photos somewhere I’ll post and send you the link if I can find it. :)
        Kevin Revolinski recently posted..Funny English: Bathroom Sign in BangkokMy Profile

        • CB Driver
          March 7, 2013 | 11:45 pm

          LOL. Sounds like a wild trip! I’ll have to check out your book. I have a feeling I’d really enjoy it!

          If you find that link, yes–please send it. I’d like to see that photo.

  8. Travel Photo of the Week: A Syrian Boy in Aleppo
    March 8, 2013 | 12:34 pm

    […] Boy in AleppoBy Kevin – March 8, 2013Posted in: Middle East Lisa of Chiky Bus posted a great photo of two Syrian boys outside the souk in Aleppo – an historical place that is sadly no longer. It brought back […]

  9. Indian Tourist Visa
    March 13, 2013 | 5:20 am

    The boys looks so innocent but unfortunately Syria is burning these days.

  10. Laura Zera
    September 25, 2013 | 2:00 am

    Photos like this make the current situation even more heartbreaking. These two fellows looks like they’ve been up to a good amount of play — a little dirty, a little sweaty, a lot happy.
    Laura Zera recently posted..You and Mental Health: Countering the Pathology View of Hearing VoicesMy Profile

    • CB Driver
      September 30, 2013 | 12:03 pm

      Hi, Laura. I agree. They do look like they were having some fun. I fear for them because of where I saw them–Aleppo. There’s been a lot of destruction there.

  11. Travel Photo of the Week: A Syrian Boy in Aleppo – The Mad Traveler
    September 17, 2016 | 12:58 am

    […] of Chicky Bus posted a great photo of two Syrian boys outside the souk in Aleppo – an historical place that is sadly no longer. It brought back […]

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