In the autumn 1850, the Ottoman state decided to advance its administrative reforms, originally proclaimed in the 1839 Gülhane edict. Aleppo was at that time one of the places in Bilad ash-Sham (Greater Syria) where two of the most unpopular measures were undertaken: The ferde (poll tax) was introduced and military conscription was imposed on the subjects in order to recruit men from the city and the surrounding countryside for service in the new Ottoman army. These measures coincided with growing European economic interest in Aleppo and the rise of a class of Catholic entrepreneurs financially connected to the city’s European traders. The protests against the Ottoman reform measures, led by inhabitants of the eastern suburbs, were unprecedented for being viewed as confessionally motivated. Angry masses rose and attacked the quarters inhabited by a majority of Christians, with insurgents plundering and destroying possessions in those quarters, burning down a number of churches and killing some individuals. The Ottoman state was only able to restore order when reinforcements arrived, troops armed with new cannons, which were able to subdue the insurgents’ quarters. Going beyond this incident's sectarian sheen, this paper argues against the presumption of a deep-seated animosity between Muslims and Christians. Instead, an outline of the history of the Christian community and the Christians’ economic and political interactions in the city during the long Ottoman period is provided. Furthermore, the 1850 incident is not isolated historically from episodes of protest and unrest that occurred in Aleppo beginning in the 1770s – the only epoch during which violence took on a religious/sectarian hue—and the paper will remedy this by illustrating in detail the patterns of continuity and discontinuity in the tradition of protest and violence in the city.