The battle for the Qalamoun mountains bordering Lebanon is tipping in favor of Hezbollah and the Syrian regime, with the gateway town of Zabadani now effectively encircled. Trapped inside, residents and rebels face certain death, Abu Adi, a citizen journalist from the Ahrar Zabadani media network in nearby Madaya, tells Ammar Hamou.

Q: What is the way out for rebels from their current situation? And what is the fate of Zabadani’s [civilian] residents?

The fates of the Zabadani rebels and the opposition’s military leaders in the area are one and the same: death.

There are only two other options: either a miracle from God or the breaking of the siege from outside Zabadani, which I think is unlikely since everyone has betrayed us.

As for the civilians in Zabadani, they fled to nearby Madaya and are being subjected to regime bombardment there.

Q: Have you contacted military factions for support? How can the siege be broken?      

We have asked the groups active on the Qalamoun front and Zahran Alloush, the commander of Jaish al-Islam, to mobilize since the beginning of the offensive [but our calls] fell on deaf ears.

Q: What is the truth of regime media reports regarding the destruction of a tunnel that was being used by Zabadani rebels to move weapons?

The explosion of the tunnel is true, but it was destroyed at the beginning of the regime and Hezbollah’s campaign on Zabadani in July.

Zabadani is now completely cut off from surrounding areas; there is no exit or tunnel. If there were still tunnels like this, our position would be completely different.