>> It might be hard to see now, but before Syria's civil war, Aleppo had much in common with London, both commercial hubs and their countries main population centers. Now, half of Aleppo is effectively a ghost city and Londoners might find it hard to identify with that fate. But German artist Hans Haacke has plans to bring the suffering home to those in the West.
A data visualizer, he's taken UN satellite information on Aleppo's destruction, and reprojected it onto a map London, with sobering results. Yellow parts of the map indicate areas with no data, whilst red shows buildings that have been destroyed. I'm Reuters' Rosanna Philpott in the historic heart of London. Data shows that if this were Aleppo and it was Britain that had endured a six-year civil war, everything behind me would be rubble.
From this, The Tower of London, to Buckingham Palace, and entire neighborhoods that have been completely wiped off the map. In this alternate reality, City Hall's gone, railway links out of London Bridge and Kings Cross are cut off. It echoes what happened in Aleppo. While the west remained relatively untouched, the east was held and destroyed by rebel groups before the Syrian army drove them out in December.
>> Those were shot out.>> What the map doesn't show though, is the human casualties. I'm in the business district in east London at lunchtime. It's hard to compare the scale of death and destruction in such a bustling and unaffected city. Since Syria's civil war began, it's estimated the city's population fell from two million to just half that.
A drop of similar proportions in London would see about 4.3 million people killed or displaced. Many compare the Aleppo of today to Berlin or Tokyo in 1946. But those cities were helped by massive post-war Western aid. By contrast, Syria is on the receiving end of international sanctions.
d civil war still rages in many places.
As long as that's true, the revival of Aleppo will remain a distant prospect.