- Aleppo is located at the heart of Syria's five-year civil war
- Many buildings have been bombed and burned, but people still live there
- Commander loyal to Assad says he believes regime is on verge of decisive victory
CNN's Frederik Pleitgen, who has traveled to and covered Syria for years, was recently in Aleppo on a trip facilitated but not coordinated by the Syrian military.
Aleppo, Syria (CNN)Years of combat have turned Aleppo's old town into a neighborhood of rubble and dust.