For three days, regime forces have been bombing the southern Aleppo countryside in an attempt to push beyond it and encircle Syria’s second city, heavily hitting a string of villages 15 kilometers to the south of Aleppo.
An estimated 50,000 displaced residents have fled barrel bombs and rockets, which even as of publication on Monday are exploding “every minute,” says Basel Abu-Hamza, a reporter affiliated with the rebel Victory Army.
Village residents are staying near their homes “in tents on farmland outside bombed villages,” Abu-Hamza tells Syria Direct’s Moutasem Jamal.
Can you give an idea of how many people are displaced and where they are going?
Some families have moved to surrounding farmland and some have gone to Aleppo’s western countryside. Others have gone to Turkey. Most are staying in tents on farmland outside the bombed villages, but these areas are not safe at all: there are shells that landed only meters away from where the families are staying. They are only a few kilometers away from their villages that were bombed.
What has been the humanitarian response to the wave of displacement?
To begin with, there weren’t any food-aid organizations besides Syria Charity in the area. Even if there were, they wouldn’t stay because of the unimaginable pace of the bombing. Every minute there is a rocket, a shell or a barrel bomb. This organization is the only one preparing tents for people and providing water and food, according to what I saw.
What is it like inside the villages?
The villages in the south Aleppo countryside are so empty that you could walk through three empty villages one after the other, and then only find a few people in the fourth village.