In rebel-held areas of Aleppo, lightly armed policemen face thieves equipped with anti-aircraft guns on the ground and Syrian air force bombardment from the sky.

General Adib al-Shallaf, the head of the Western-backed police force, says the Syrian government has tried to kill him several times in air strikes including a barrel bombing in which two of his colleagues died.

“Now we try to keep our bases a secret so they do not get bombed,” said Shallaf, a senior officer in the Syrian state police force until his defection one year into the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad that began in 2011. […]