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Until the civil war reached it two years ago, Aleppo was Syria's largest city and the country's commercial and industrial hub. Now the ancient city lies in ruins, 70 percent of its population has fled, and those who remain live under siege. Rebel-held areas are under constant bombardment by barrel bombs — crudely improvised explosive devices that are dropped from government aircraft.
As rebel and government forces struggle for total victory, VICE filmmaker Medyan Dairieh followed the volunteers of Aleppo's Civil Defense, a civilian rescue organization, who risk their lives daily as the first responders to government airstrikes in a city seemingly abandoned by the outside world.