Residents from Aleppo share their stories; you can read them and take actions.
December 22nd, 2016
40-year old Ahmad and his wife Mouna who was evacuated on Thursday, 15 December 2016 are sharing their story: “I am two months pregnant, I lost a child once before. I had to leave all his belonging behind me; it was very difficult moment, to be ripped from my place of origin and the story of my history. We started our journey at 3:00pm leaving Almashad for Alsukari, then to the zero point in Ramuseh, leaving in a green bus at 1:00 am. The nine hours were so long, it was cold and dark; my feelings were mixed between happiness to survive and sadness to be uprooted. I was terrified when I started to bleed. I was afraid of losing my fetus, as I had already lost almost everything. It was easier when we got onto the final buses, out trip was very fast, only an hour, we stopped at three checkpoints. We escaped death; we must be good people to survive all the bombing.”
Ahmad explains one of his experiences in Eastern Aleppo during the month of December: “On the sixth of the month, my leg was injured in Fardous neighborhood. It was a simple injury, I decided not to mention it to anyone because the situation was horrific around me. I crawled on my belly and sometimes on my knees for 300 meters to find shelter from the bombing. People were shredded in front of me, I cannot erase the image of removing a severed arm that settled on me. I went back that day to Almashad where I was living, but we lost contact with one of my close friends on 8 December 2016 because he was not able to escape Fardous neighborhood, he had been arrested by the Syrian regime. We know that he is in detention but we still hope for his release.”
December 21st, 2016
Omar (35 years old) who was evacuated on Thursday, December 15th, 2016 is telling us his story: “I spent the last months in the neighborhood of Almashad, which was considered ‘safe.’ On December 14th, 2016, there was an agreement for a ceasefire and evacuation of wounded people. On that day, the Syrian regime attacked and intended to raid the neighborhood. The neighborhood was first hit with artillery shelling, around 500 shells, and then intense cluster bombing started. Almashad was very crowded, because thousands of internally displaced people moved there because they thought it is safe. During the attack, many people were injured, and many people died because there was not sufficient medical treatment available. Almashad was completely destroyed, and the dead bodies are still under the demolished buildings. No one can say this is a voluntary evacuation—we only had two options: either to die by the bombing, or to leave. It was an absolute terror. The attacks in Almashad and the attempt to raid Salah Aldin, Alamrieh and Alzbdieh continued until 12:00 am, when the ceasefire agreement took hold once again.”
“During the evacuation, waiting to get into the buses was a nightmare—we were cold and hungry, and many children were sick. One does not feel oneself a human. I was mostly worried about the families; can you imagine waiting for 24 hours to get into the green bus with two or three children with no food? But, the journey was easy compared to what we have lost—one of my friends was in the convoy which had been held hostage, and his brother was executed. Can you imagine the situation of THOUSANDS of people who are trying to leave since yesterday, and they are waiting under the snow storm?”
December 20, 2016
Ziad is a 35 year old lawyer. When we spoke with him he asked, “Could you please stop calling it an evacuation process? It is forced displacement. To bomb an area such as Fardoos to the point where all the buildings crumble to the ground forces the people to leave. When the corridors of the field hospital become the place where the injured sleep and wait for their emergency operations, this is forced displacement. When people run from the intense bombing to a “safer” neighborhood passing corpses and stepping on blood, it is forced displacement.”
He explained about his evacuation Journey, “On Thursday December 15th, 2016 people were able to leave in the green buses, and we were informed we could leave by our cars that night. We drove in our private car to the Ramuseh area around 12:00 am. It was very cold outside, many people waited outside – I was with another four lawyers in the car and we were freezing, I do not know how the people outside could survive. Some infants died from the cold. We waited until 8:00 am when the first convoy of 25 cars left. We were lucky to leave in the second convoy after waiting 20 minutes. We were lucky, we were not stopped. I have friends who were in a convoy that was held hostage by Huzbaallah. We passed the first checkpoint controlled by the regime without a problem. The second checkpoint, controlled by the regime and Russian officers along with Red Crescent staff who were recording the number of people leaving. I arrived safely to Attarb but not everyone has left Eastern Aleppo yet. People’s lives are being wagered in political games, we should not be given the options of either death, starvation, detention or forced displacement. I am not convinced that there was no other option”
December 19, 2016
Leila is a 29 year old Arabic teacher, she was born and lived all her life in the Sukari neighborhood. Leila was evacuated with her sister, her sister-in-law, and her one month old nephew. When asked about her experience, she explained, “We were terrorized; we tried three times to travel from Zibdieh to the Ramuseh area. My sister-in-law destroyed her IDs. My sister has shrapnel in her back from the December 5th, 2016 bombing of the Fardous neighborhood, we are very worried that it will affect her nervous system. The injured people who are still in besieged Eastern Aleppo need to be prioritized. Over the last month we have witnessed hell in Aleppo, I want it all to be behind us and hope we will NOT live through the same in Idlib. I believe no one should have to experience what I witnessed in Fardous on December 5th, 2016”
Bassem is a 23-year-old citizen journalist, who is still in the Salah Aldin neighborhood. He told us, “There are still huge numbers of people here waiting to be evacuated. Food is scarce, there is no water, and few medical services available. The injured people and the infants should be evacuated as soon as possible – there is baby girl two months old who is still in the field hospital waiting to be evacuated. Although slow, the evacuation process that started last night has continued into today. There are huge numbers of people still waiting. Some people have slept in the street for the past 2 or 3 nights. We are still terrified from the evacuation, there is no guarantee. The barbaric bombings we’ve experience over the past month tell us that there is no mercy, there is no humanitarian treatment for us.”
December 17, 2016
Abood a 21 year old salesman, was evacuated on Thursday December 15th, 2016. “I am here in Salkin, Idlib now, but I am very worried about my friends. I spent the past three years of my life with them, and I do not want to leave them behind. What we saw in my last week in Eastern Aleppo is unbearable, for a weak we did not sleep – there were hundreds of bombings and explosions each day. We were terrified of the raids taking place in surrounding neighborhoods. One of my friends was among the people held hostage yesterday, and I am worried that he will not be safely evacuated from Aleppo”
December 16, 2016
Abd Alkader, a 23-years old teacher and perfume shop owner in Salah Aldin neighborhood in the besieged Eastern Aleppo, told me today: “I was in the convoy that was held by the regime and Hezbollah today. I was forced to lay on the ground and I was not allowed to raise my head for three hours, 11:30am – 2:30pm. They Humiliated me, took all my possessions; even my wedding ring, my IDs, money, cell phone. The person who was lying next to me had a heart attack and died and they dragged him away while forcing me to not look up. I experienced death today and I will never be able to explain the horror that everyone endured.”
Anas, a 29-year old Arabic teacher in Zabdieh in besieged Eastern Aleppo, told me today :“My 50-year old mother, my 25-year old sister, and my 8-year old niece were in the convoy held hostage today. I was waiting in the later convoy to be evacuated but we were left waiting at the Ramuseh point. I will never forget the moment they returned, people thought the regime was going to raid the neighborhood. Women, children, everyone started running. One woman, terrified, dropped her baby while breast feeding him and ran. You must see her crying as she returned to search for him in order to understand what happened today. I ran with everyone at first, then I realized that I need to check whether my family was safe. I searched for them, we found each other, and we ran. Together we ran to Sukari 1 km away. We wanted to run from here, from death. We do not want to experience death from fear and terror while we are leaving. It was a horrifying experience to listen to my mother retell the story of what happened.”
December 15, 2016
Dr. Salem Abu Al-Nassr, a dentist, who is trapped in the Ansari neighborhood in besieged Aleppo. He is 50 years old and and his coughing interrupted the conversation many times. He told me:
“On Sunday morning, December 11, around 6:30am I was in Bustan al-Qasr. The heavy bombing woke us up and we grabbed only what was necessary and ran to Ansari for half an hour…I could see the fear in the eyes of the children and the fatigue in the eyes of the elderly and the parents who were pushing their relatives in wheelchairs. We were lucky because the fog prevented the snipers from shooting us. I believe in the international community, I know that they will not allow a massacre to happen here, and I call on them to help the Syrian people to have a peace agreement to move this country ahead to a democratic state. Please make the call not only about Aleppo, but about Syria, we need not only a country, but we need this country to be our home.”
December 14, 2016
Aleppo Women Peace Circle, a group of twelve women working together on local peacebuilding efforts in the Aleppo area. All of them are still trapped in three besieged neighborhoods: Mashad, Saif al-Douleh and Salah Addin; we lost contact with them four days ago.
Samah (pseudonym), one of the peace circle members, is 46 years old and a teacher. In 2012 she was arrested for 6 months by the Syrian regime for participating in the peaceful demonstrations. Currently, she and her 22 year old daughter are trapped in one of the besieged neighborhoods. Before we lost contact Samah told us, “I always thought that nothing could be more horrific than what I experienced in the Security Forces in 2012, but what I am seeing around me in terms of destruction, and injured children especially, is worse. But I don’t want to be arrested again. I want safe passage to a place where I will not be arrested.”
December 13, 2016
CCSD’s team member has twelve cousins between the ages of two and twelve (girls and boys) who fled from Aleppo’s Karam Al-Jabal neighbourhood to the Sukari neighbourhood with their parents under shelling. One of the children was injured in the shoulder and needs immediate medical care. There is no medical care, food or any other basic services in Sukari, which is also being shelled. They cannot leave unless safe passage is guaranteed.
CCSD’s team member has not been able to contact his father, age 70, for two days. His father is very weak and sick due to malnutrition and the lack of water and medicine. He feared going to the regime-controlled area because he was afraid of being arrested or assassinated. His parents decided to part for the first time in their marriage, with his mother leaving this morning for the regime-controlled area, and his father staying.
December 12, 2016
Rayan lost contact with nine members of his family, including his father and his mother, their age around 70 years old, they do not have any medication or food. Two of his brothers, and one of his sister in law and four children less than eight years old, are there still there.
Hamzeh Alkhatib is still in besieged Aleppo, he is a doctor and he is not able to do his humanitarian duties because of the heavy bombing. He appealed to the whole world to help the injured civilians, women, the children, and the elderly to leave the hell of besieged Aleppo.