These realities in Aleppo are that the city, once the industrial heart of Syria, has been split between government in the west and rebels in the east since 2012. In the course of this year, the Syrian army and Shia paramilitary forces from Iran, Iraq and Lebanon have surrounded East Aleppo which is being battered into ruins by Russian and Syrian air strikes and shelling. Hospitals and health care centres are being systematically destroyed. There is an economic blockade with UN aid convoys unable to pass through government checkpoints. It is near impossible to cook such food as there is because of the lack of propane gas cylinders and kerosene.