Aleppo’s People under Rubbles

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Enab Baladi Issue # 104– Sun, Feb. 16, 2014

حصارLayan Al-Halabi

Aleppo lives a difficult hard-birth, perhaps a new birth will come, under a sky devoid of barrels, and a land devoid of injustice, like that it is the daily dominant scene for over a month, with dozens of daily barrels thrown by Assad’s planes on the eastern residential neighborhoods in Aleppo.

– Many people die due to lack of tools:

A state of anticipation accompanied with the fall of barrels on civilians, who don’t have any way to stop it, ending with a massive explosion between residential neighborhoods. Civil defense teams spread in the explosion place and enclose the entire area, and begin of pulling people out of the rubbles.

But the real “tragedy” is the absence of machines that remove the rubbles, that’s what the director of the city’s civil defense team Bebars Mesha’al said, “we tried several ways by using the available tools to rescue people, such as opening holes in roofs to pull the injured and dead persons, or breaking stones by hands to relive the pressure on injured”.

Bebars said that civilians and paramedics always help his team, but the presence of civilians in the area is often a burden more than being useful, and mentioned that one day while they were trying to rescue a woman who was under rubbles, all what was shown of her body was the head, they were barely able to enter an oxygen tube to keep her alive as long as possible, while trying to pull her out manually. After 6 hours of hard work, they were successful and pulled her out alive, but because of one of civilians intervention, one of the big stones fell on her, which led her to death immediately.

Also he said that lack of machines was a reason of a horrific massacre, in Misar neighborhood for example, one whole family died under rubbles and we were able to hear them for an hour before their voices disappeared completely. In Kallaseh area, where the worst massacre took place; we continued working for 8 consecutive days.

– Individual initiative to replenish:

Some activists accused the council of Aleppo and the unity of coordination and support that they failed in this domain, what prompted some activists to collect donations on social networks sites, especially the Syrians who live abroad, coinciding with the increasing of throwing explosive barrels.

In an interview with the activist Ward Furaty talking about initiatives, “under the current bad conditions and lack of machines, we had to do more than one initiative, the first was to build medical emergency shelters, but it didn’t succeed, then we tried to buy some new bulldozers instead of the broken ones, but we failed too. We thought about collecting the necessary amounts to repair two broken bulldozers, and we already collected all wanted amounts during 7 hours, we repaired the first bulldozer and started to use it. We were late in repairing the second one, because of transformation steps.

Ward also spoke about another initiative undertaken by activists to collect the necessary amounts for buying “airbags” especially to pick up the rubbles and it was available in Turkey, but we didn’t buy any airbags until the moment waiting to completely collect the necessary amounts.

– Aleppo’s Diaspora:

With the continued fall of barrels every day, the residents of those neighborhoods were forced to be displaced, so the convoys of displaced people started moving to Turkey or to the western neighborhoods of Aleppo, which was still under the control of Assad’s army.

Aleppo’s Diaspora, as it was named by some activists, started as daily incidents of reported missing children in the hustle of the crossing point “detention garage”. Mothers cry bitterly because the officers at the barrier prevent them from crossing, and snipers occasionally target civilians who came to the barrier.

Activists confirmed to Enab Baladi the tight measures taken at against displaced people; many young men have been arrested by the barrier guards. They also closed the barrier most of the days in face of displaced people, that’s what forced them, especially in the first days of displacement, to sleep on streets until crossing gate was open again.

On Thursday, February 13th, one of Aleppo’s News Network’s correspondent said that regime checkpoints open the barrier and close it randomly. Also the crossing guards impose amounts up to 3000 Syrian pounds for those who want to move to the liberated areas of Aleppo, 1000 Syrian pounds for those who wanted to return to the areas under the regime’s control. Not to forget the repeated incidents of harassment against women; the crossing guards sometimes force those who want to cross to leave their wives or sisters at the checkpoint in order to allow the men to cross. Last Thursday, two girls and a young man were arrested at the checkpoint where the 17-year-old took severe beating before being sent to detention.

– Expelling displaced people and exploiting them:

Another suffering exists in Aleppo neighborhoods which are still under Assad control, where the guards stress on civilians and they use insults to everyone that carries the identity of a liberated area, in addition to arresting many of them.

Cars loaded with furniture for displaced people were prevented from entering some neighbourhoods; also many families were prevented from residing in their relatives houses, with extensive inspection campaigns of homes to make sure that all displaced people have a lease for at least for six months.

A large percentage of the owners of real estate agents, who have close connections with members from regime security forces, when displaced people came to them for renting a flat, forced them to sign a lease with large amounts more than their financial capabilities.

Activists reported that some mosques refused to accommodate the displaced people, and demanded them to bring an approval paper from the ministry of religions which didn’t cooperate at all in this case. The campus is completely full since the first wave of displacement -in September 2012 when the free army entered to Aleppo-, and there is no place for any new displaced people.

– Turkey can’t accommodate anymore:

The other side of the Turkish limits wasn’t better, thousands of displaced people went to Salameh Gate crossing point, families stayed in Klles garage waiting for salvation. an activist Mohamed Damour said that the arrival of large numbers of displaced people made a big noise on crossing points, the Turkish army -border guards- as usual had blind eyes for so many of those who entered by smuggling, what caused an alert state into Kalas, Gaziantep and Nezab, because they were afraid that some members of “Islamic state in Iraq and Leavent” will exploit the security, and enter Turkey. On the other hand they wanted to help solving the problem of the influx of refugees. Damour mentioned that the Syrian government did not address the issue properly, and he pointed out that the last few days have seen a decline in the severity of this crisis. some people went to Kalas Camp where the number of its residents increased from 9 to 20 thousand, while others were lucky to have people to shelter them inside the Turkish territory, and the last section of people just turned back to Syria after having run out of options, especially those who don’t have money to rent a simple house in Turkey.

Translated by: Hamed Shurbaji

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