Friday, 26 February 2016

Defying the odds, Syrian refugees return to Aleppo

man standing next to ruins

Copyright: picture alliance/abaca

 'In addition to the cluster bombs from the Syrian regime and Russian airstrikes that indiscriminately strike civilians no matter how near or far they are from the front lines, economic opportunities inside Aleppo are shrinking, making it more and more difficult to live from day to day. With the last secure supply line into the rebel-held areas of the city cut, the city is effectively under a partial siege, making it more and more difficult to deliver supplies to those trapped inside. As the situation worsens, many are fearing a situation similar to that in Yarmouk or Madaya where a complete government siege completely cut off the town from any aid, including food, causing civilians to starve to death.

 "I don't know what I can do to help my family," Abdullah continues, composing himself. "But I want to be there anyway."
 Since the beginning of February, the Syrian regime has launched a major offensive on the opposition-held areas in the Aleppo province of Syria, a strategically important region that was once a stronghold of the opposition and that symbolized the revolution's success. However, as the most recent Russian-backed offensive re-captures surrounding towns, many are afraid that Aleppo will fall under control of the regime, shifting the tides of the war - perhaps permanently - in its favor.
 "Most of our fights are against IS, but recently the Kurdish forces have also been pushing against us," a Free Syrian Army fighter waiting at the border, who called himself Abu Muhidden, told DW.
 "But most of the refugees right now had to flee because of the Russian airstrikes," he continues. "The technology is more advanced than that of the regime, making them more deadly."
 While the United States and Russia have brokered a truce due to go into effect on Saturday, Abu Muhidden says that this is unlikely - and will not affect his brigade's fighting strategy.
"It's a war," he laughs bitterly, shrugging off what he sees as the latest in a string of unlikely promises from the international community. "We have to be prepared for the worst." '

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