ALEPPO, Syria (Agence France Presse) — Taline Menassian still trembles when she steps into the Aleppo Armenian Society’s open-air cafe, shaken by memories of the rockets that once rained down on the Syrian city’s front line. The eatery in Midan, Aleppo’s main Armenian district, was shuttered for four years after violence reached the city in 2012.
But it reopened in June, six months after the government recaptured all of the city.
Relaxed laughter and giggling children have replaced the boom of explosions in the restaurant, which is nestled between the Armenian Society and the St. Gregory Armenian Apostolic Church.
“It’s like a dream to be here,” said Menassian, 50, looking around at the dozens of customers in the restaurant. Menassian is a member of the Armenian Society, which kept its doors open although the affiliated eatery was boarded up.
“Every time I come in, I can’t believe it,” Menassian told AFP, gazing in amazement at dozens of customers smoking water pipes and sipping arak.