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Video: Aleppo’s famed master soapmakers rebuild their lives and business in Paris

Philippe Lopez, AFP | Samir Constantini, chief executive officer and founder of Aleppo soap company Alepia, observes as an employee cuts bars of soap at his company in Santeny, on December 19, 2016.

A collateral victim of the Syrian conflict, Aleppo’s famed soapmakers have found sanctuary far from the war-torn city whose elegant souks, many now reduced to rubble, have made the coveted green bars for centuries.


In an industrial zone on the outskirts of Paris, a Syrian master soapmaker is carrying on the tradition, mixing olive oil and laurel oil with water and lye to produce a deeply moisturising natural cleanser that has won devotees worldwide.

“We’ve been making Aleppo soap for 3,500 years – well before Jesus Christ. We make it here the same way we make it at home. There’s olive oil, laurel leaves, water – only natural ingredients,” Hassan Harastani, one of the soapmakers explained to FRANCE 24.

The scent of laurel oil wafts through the corridors of the factory in Santeny, about 30 kilometres (18 miles) southeast of the French capital, where big blocks of soap are drying.

To watch the full video, click on the player above.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

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