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The Heart of Aleppo:
A Story of the Syrian Civil WarPaperback & ebook, 252 Pages
By Ammar Habib
By Ammar Habib
July 26th 2018
Winner of the 2019 Independent Press Award
#1 Bestseller in "Coming-Of-Age" Fiction
#1 Bestseller in "Asian-American" Literature
From the ashes of the Syrian Civil War comes this story of hope, love, and courage...
After standing for over 7,000 years, Aleppo's ruin came overnight. Separated from his family during the night the rebels attacked the city, thirteen-year-old Zaid Kadir is lost in the middle of a war zone. Alongside his friends, he is forced to survive the dangers of a civil war he does not even fully understand. Zaid witnesses the destruction of the brutal Syrian Civil War as it grows more deadly by the day and rips his city apart. However, as he braves this destruction, as he desperately tries to survive this catastrophe, he discovers something. Zaid realizes that it is in the darkest hours when humanity's spirit of hope burns brightest.
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The silence is faintly broken by the crackling of a fire. It sounds like burning debris. I see it up in the distance as it dimly breaks through the mist. A few steps closer and I notice that it’s coming from an alley up ahead.
There’s a large heap of wreckage between us and the fire. Salman nearly runs into the debris before stopping. It’s about twice as tall as him. The mountain is made up of a bunch of bricks from a toppled building that’s overrun onto the road. He looks to the right and then the left. There’s no way around it.
Salman expertly climbs it. His movements are slow. The higher he goes, the more loose pieces of debris he unintentionally knocks down. With each move, he makes sure to find a stable footing before taking the next step. He arrives at the top with relative ease. Finding a firm area to plant himself, he turns around and offers Fatima his hand. After she takes it, he pulls her up and over to the other side. It’s almost effortless for him.
He firmly takes my hand next. As he pulls me with a heave, I grab a piece of debris that is jutting out and kick off of another to help push myself towards him. He lets out a groan as he yanks me upwards. The heavy sack isn’t making it any easier. I sense it pulling on my shoulder, forcing a pang of pain to run through it. My arm feels like it’s going to break off. As soon as I’m at eye-level with the top of the wreckage, I grab it with my free arm and help pull myself up. I groan in pain, my face turning red. My entire body is shaking as I dig deep to find my strength. Going up a few more inches, I throw my chest onto the mount and quickly worm myself onto it. As I do, a jutting brick’s edge sharply jabs into my side, but I barely give it a wince.
Salman hops down to join Fatima. I follow him. My feet hit the ground hard, shooting a shot of pain up my legs. The sack violently smashes against my sore upper knee, and I almost fall over before Salman catches me. That hurt more than I thought it would. As I rise back up, the foul odor immediately hits me.
The fear-striking silence surrounds me once more. It’s my only companion. The hollow sound of silence is worse than gunfire and explosions. Worse than screams. Worse than terror. Because mixed into this silence is abandonment and suffering.
And more than anything else, this silence is the silence of the unknown.
About the Author
Ammar Habib is a bestselling and award-winning author who was born in Lake Jackson, Texas in 1993. Ammar enjoys crafting stories that are not only entertaining but will also stay with the reader for a long time. Ammar presently resides in his hometown with his family, all of whom are his biggest fans. He draws his inspiration from his family, imagination, and the world around him.
One winner will receive a signed copy of Habib's national award-winning novel, Memories of My Future (US only). Memories of My Future is an historical/inspirational novel that was published in 2016. It received several accolades after its release, including the Independent Press Award in May 2017.
Ends November 13, 2019