‘Aleppo was like Paris before war’: City’s only female taxi driver to RT

After five years of conflict, Aleppo lies in ruins. Still, the city’s only female taxi driver, who lost her son and husband in the Syrian war, hopes that one day her city will be rebuilt.

Before the war, Aleppo was even more beautiful than Paris, believes Emenour, 52, who is a mother, a grandmother, and a taxi driver, which is unusual in the Arab world.

“When I started out, I was afraid, but in five and a half years, people have accepted that women can work anyway. But it was difficult at first,” she told RT’s Murad Gazdiev.

She took Gazdiev on a car ride across the city and told her story about facing constant shelling and death.

“We still live. There are snipers. There is shelling,” she said.

Aleppo is now unrecognizable from the “beautiful and majestic” Aleppo before the war, she said.

“Five years ago before the war, Aleppo was like Paris, even more beautiful. Now look at this destruction. It was so majestic and now it’s all ruined. But we will rebuild it all. And most importantly, soldiers will go back to their families and their mothers,” she said.

Emenour’s eldest son was killed over a year ago in a fight near Damascus, she recalled.

“The body was a hundred meters away from the army post and watched by rebel snipers. I waited for 20 days but couldn’t get him.”

Emenour’s house was destroyed in the shelling. Now she lives with several cats in an apartment given to her by the Syrian government.

Emenour has two daughters and a son who live far from Aleppo, but she hopes that one day her family will be reunited.

“Of course, it’s been hard and my heart is on fire, but I hope that my country will become the way it was and even better. The day this war ends, I will try to bring all the family back together.”

Emenour,  Aleppo's only female taxi driver© RT

For centuries, Aleppo was the Syrian region’s largest city by population, and in 2006, was named the capital of Islamic culture by Islamic Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO). Before the war, the population of the city was over two million people.

Most of its attractions, including the Great Mosque of Aleppo and the Citadel (a large fortress), have been destroyed or extensively damaged.