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Author:Laxman Burdak, IFS (Retd.)

Aleppo is city in Syria and capital of Aleppo Governorate.


It is located in northwestern Syria 310 kms from Damascus.


Aleppo is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world; it has been inhabited since perhaps as early as the 6th millennium BC.[1] Excavations at Tell as-Sawda and Tell al-Ansari, just south of the old city of Aleppo, show that the area was occupied since at least the latter part of the 3rd millennium BC;[11] and this is also when Aleppo is first mentioned in cuneiform tablets unearthed in Ebla and Mesopotamia. Such a long history is probably due to its being a strategic trading point midway between the Mediterranean Sea and Mesopotamia (i.e. modern Iraq).

The city's significance in history has been its location at the end of the Silk Road, which passed through central Asia and Mesopotamia.

Origin of name

It was known in antiquity as Khalpe, Khalibon,[2] and to the Greeks and Romans as Beroea (Βέροια). During the Crusades, and again during the French Mandate for Syria and the Lebanon, the name Alep was used. However, "Aleppo" is an Italianised version of this.

The original ancient name of Halab has been preserved as the current Arabic name of the city. It is of obscure origin. Some have proposed that Halab means 'iron' or 'copper' in Amorite languages since it was a major source of these metals in antiquity. However, according to the 20th century historian sheikh Kamel al-Ghazzi and contemporary linguist priest Barsoum Ayyoub, the name of Halab (and consequently Aleppo) is derived from the Aramaic word Halaba which means white, referring to the colour of soil and marble abundant in the area.[3] The modern-day Arabic nickname of the city, ash-Shabaa (Arabic: الشهباء), which means the white-coloured, is also derived from the famous white marble of Aleppo.

Jat History connections

Jats were also found as buffalo herders on the Euphrates in pre-Islamic times. They were also known, from Aleppo to India, as militaristic, often mercenary, pastoralists.
Many of them are now devout Moslems and proclaim a certain “Peer” as their patron; some claim that their ruling house is descended from someone close to the Prophet, and/or claim to have come “from Aleppo.” But some have oral histories telling of their conversion to Islam, and, their present culture, though it partakes of a very heavy overlay of Islamic features, is still marked, say the authors, by many non- Islamic features.

External links