Since Syrian and Russian planes began the ongoing bombing campaign last week that has devastated the southern Aleppo countryside ahead of a ground offensive likely to surround the city, more than 50,000 residents have fled their villages.
It wasn’t just the blanket bombings that prompted residents to run, says Abu Ezz al-Halabi, alocal journalist from the southern Aleppo countryside.
“We saw the violence and cruelty of what happened at Jisr al-Shughur in Idlib and Talbisa in Homs, and how those bombings did not distinguish between civilians and non-civilians,” al-Halabi tells Syria Direct’s Bayan al-Ahmad.
Q: What pushed you to leave your home?
We fled because of the ongoing battles there, and in particular, Russia’s military involvement in the bombings. We saw the violence and cruelty of what happened at Jisr al-Shughur in Idlib and Talbisa in Homs, and how those bombings did not distinguish between civilians and non-civilians. They were instead taking revenge on civilians, and so we decided to take our children and run.
Q: Where did you go? How are you living now?
I was able to find an apartment for my family and I in Sarmada. There are some who headed towards rural villages in western Aleppo such as Urum and Atarib. There are others who do not own anything or have relatives nearby, and went to the Turkish border near Atma camp.
Q: What about the people who fled to the camps and who are now on the Turkish border? Is there anyone supporting them?
Some of those who have fled to the camps have found tents to live in, but many people have not found any shelter and are left out in the open. A number of people from my town have not been able to find tents to stay in. There are some relief organizations that are working to help them [find tents], but it depends on what is available. The situation of many is very tragic.