This article is from the archive of our partner .

Global Post's Tracey Shelton has been embedded with Syrian rebels in Aleppo, one of the most violent cities over the last few months, and she is lucky to be alive after the group she was with was attacked by a government tank.

Shelton was travelling with the "Noor Den al-Zenke batallion, who man a two-block stretch of back streets that now forms the final line between government troops and opposition forces," when the attack happened. The men were still cleaning up from a tank attack the day before: 

This narrow street had become a makeshift home for the men. Lounge chairs salvaged from abandoned homes formed an area for chatting and drinking tea. Meals were prepared on a grass mat in the middle of the street. We slept in a room on the lower floor in case of air raids. Lookouts were posted at each street corner to both watch and listen for new sniper positions and approaching troops and tanks.

On this morning, the men were relaxed and joking around as they cleaned their area from a tank attack the day before. That time, they had been prepared and the tank had fired too short. This time, the assault came with little warning.

The picture we decided to use is of the very moment when the tank attack hit. The pictures before the blast show the men sitting and enjoying themselves, a moment of serenity before absolute chaos. They didn't have very much notice. Only one of the men survived. The whole series of photos, which Global Post graciously let us use, is amazing and worth your time and clicks, but may not be for the faint of heart.

August was the worst month of fighting in Syria since the conflict began. The Guardian traveled to Daraya to survey the damage after there were reports of a massacre there. It is a ghost town now. 

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to