Thursday, 1 December 2016
Air strike kills the last clown of Aleppo, Anas al-Basha
'He was the clown who brought joy to the lives of children in a city that has been described as going through a "slow-motion descent into hell".
Social worker Anas al-Basha refused to leave the rebel-held Syrian city of Aleppo despite a merciless bombing campaign by Syrian and Russian forces that has seen the city of two million people disintegrate.
Instead, the 24-year-old dressed as a clown and provided counselling to hundreds of children who have been orphaned by the country's civil war that has torn apart a country for almost six years.
On Thursday, he was killed in an air strike presumed to have been launched by allied Syrian or Russian forces on the Mashhad neighbourhood in eastern Aleppo, two months after marrying his wife.
"The last clown of Aleppo," mourned the Children of Syria Facebook page. "With him the besieged children of Aleppo laughed."
Anas was a director for the Space for Hope centre which helps other psycho-social support centres and 12 schools in eastern Aleppo. He sent his salary to his parents, who left the city before the government sealed off the rebel-held eastern districts.
"He would act out skits for the children to break the walls between them," his supervisor Samar Hijazi said.'