Why People Are Searching For A “Lepo” After Last Night’s Debate

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Presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton took the debate stage for the second time last night.
Last night's presidential debate had plenty of low moments — and inspired lots of memorable tweets. Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton sparred on multiple issues, even slamming each other's personalities, during their more than 90 minutes onstage. But what did people rush to their keyboards to search for, following the gloves-off debate? According to Merriam-Webster dictionary's Twitter account, it was a "lepo." The question in the debate wasn't about "a lepo." It was, "If you were president, what would you do about Syria and the humanitarian crisis in Aleppo?" But hey, if third-party candidate Gary Johnson was mystified by the word as recently as last month, the American public shouldn't be held to a higher standard — right? Wrong.
So, here are some things you should know about Aleppo, enough to sound somewhat knowledgeable the next time you're interviewed on national television. First, it's Syria's second-most-important city, located in the northwest of the country, and one of the oldest cities in the entire world. It's ethically diverse, made up of Sunni Muslims, Kurds, Turkmens, Shia, Armenians, Syrian Christians, and Alawites (the religious minority to which Syrian President Bashar al-Assad belongs). In 2012, Aleppo was pulled into the civil war that has gripped Syria since the Arab Spring. The conflict has been marked by the Syrian government's use of chemical weapons, deliberate targeting of civilians, the rise of ISIS, and millions of refugees fleeing the country. Rebels entered Aleppo in July 2012, and it was soon divided into two regions, a western part controlled by the government and an eastern one by the rebels.
Photo: Baraa Al-Halabi/Getty Images.
Syrian men carried injured children amid the rubble of destroyed buildings following reported air strikes on the rebel-held neighborhood of al-Mashhad in the northern city of Aleppo on July 25.
More than a million people have since left. There is no blood bank — just 40 doctors remain for the entire eastern population, and unrelenting air strikes by the government and its Russian ally since the U.S.-Russian cease-fire collapsed nearly a month ago have pounded the city into rubble and killed more than 500 people. (The U.S. and its allies have also conducted thousands of air strikes in Syria, mostly against ISIS.)

In August, 5-year-old Omran Daqneesh
became the face of the Syrian conflict after a photo of him went viral. In it, he was sitting in an ambulance, covered in dust and blood, after an aerial attack on Aleppo. The majority of the refugees fleeing Syria are women and children. You can read the stories of two of the women who have fled Aleppo, Noor and Najlaa, here. The bombings and violence have made Aleppo the focal point of Syria's humanitarian crisis, with dire consequences for those who remain. A humanitarian convoy was bombed near Aleppo last month, which is partly why the president of nonprofit Doctors without Borders calls the situation "catastrophic" and "the most violent context that my organization has intervened in," ever.

Refinery29 is committed to covering the women behind the headlines of the refugee crisis. Read the full multimedia feature, "Behind the Headlines: Daughters of Paradise," here. More coverage on the human faces of the world's refugee crisis can be found here.

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