Tuesday, 9 February 2016
'Total chaos and crisis in Aleppo'
"What's very apparent is the airstrikes, there's an escalation of attacks on the centre of the city, and this is happening many in the marketplaces, residential populated areas of the city. The strategy of this seems very obvious, that they want to push people out of Aleppo, before a total siege is performed on the city. There is one retreat route, and this is to Idlib. What we're seeing on the outskirts, and this is towards northern areas of Aleppo, is escalated attacks, by the Russians in terms of airstrikes, and ground troops, that are trying to totally siege Aleppo. This siege is not a siege that is just performed by the Syrian régime and the Russians over the rebel groups; it would not be possible without ISIS, which has also gained some areas.
Resources are totally cut off. Fuel, we're talking mainly about diesel that used to come from ISIS territory towards Aleppo, that's been cut off. Vegetables, meat, poultry; this is all something that has become much more expensive right now. It's still cold in Syria, so the fuel that's used to heat the homes, that's been cut off. People are stocking up, but in the coming days and weeks, this is going to become more a humanitarian crisis. There is total chaos and havoc in Aleppo right now. This is a situation we haven't seen in Aleppo since the beginning of the uprising.
There is some censorship, there is some misinformation. There isn't any Western media reporting from inside the country. What we are seeing is more a narrative that is coming from the Russians and Syrians, it's propaganda media. We're not seeing any narrative on what's actually happening to the civilians there. So what I intend to do is actually go back to Aleppo, but the problem we're having right now is Turkish authorities on the border are not making that possible. The situation right now is there isn't really much to stand for any more in Aleppo. There was hope before, that maybe trying to convey what was going on in this city would influence the international community, and the pan-Arabic community, that something has to be done. This is something that is totally being avoided. Today there was a UN human rights report that was released, and this human rights report was blaming all sides, saying that there were rebel groups, the opposition, the government, all committing crimes, and it made it seem as if these were equal, and this is really disappointing, because there are numbers, there are statistics, that have been proven. Over 180,000 people have been killed, this is documented evidence, of people that have been killed, civilians, by government attacks. Whereas we look at a group like ISIS, and ISIS is definitely a terrorist organisation, are only responsible for around 2,000 deaths, that's 1% of what the government is responsible for, the Syrian régime.
One thing I'm seeing in Syria today. When walking in the street, and you look at the civilians, you look at people who are walking, you don't see parents holding their children's hands. And I was asking myself the question, why don't I see that? I see this in Turkey, I see this in Egypt, I see this in other countries, in Europe, when I walk around. I see people, you know, they hold their children's hands. Why in Syria do I not I see that? And it's because, psychologically, these people know that at any moment they could lose their loved ones, and psychologically, they are automatically distancing themselves from their children, from their loved ones, because they know that at any moment they could lose their children. And this is a situation I see in Syria where emotion has been totally destroyed. These people are coping only because they've accepted the idea that there could be an end to their lives, to their loved ones' lives. That's something very disturbing now I've seen in Syria recently."