ISIS and Al-Nusra snipers deliberately shoot at civilians trying to escape Islamist-held eastern Aleppo, letting no one out, local residents told RT’s Murad Gazdiev. An RT crew has been to the frontline inside the embattled city and brought back the grim picture of what it takes to live there.
Aleppo, once the second-largest city in Syria with a booming economy, is now the worst-hit place in the war-torn country. It is split between government forces and terrorist groups, including Al-Nusra Front, an Al-Qaeda affiliate.
An exclusive video shot by an RT crew from inside a Syrian Army outpost – fortified with sandbags and bricks – allows us to take a closer look at the Islamist-controlled eastern part of Aleppo. Notably, two black flags bearing signs of both IS and Al-Nusra Front are being flown.
The militants do not let anyone out of the eastern Aleppo by crossing the 300-meter no-man’s land, local residents told RT’s Murad Gazdiev.
“There are many roads open for civilians on our side to flee, and some people do manage to escape,” said one man, apparently a member of the Syrian Army. “But rebel snipers shoot at [civilians] when they see them. They don’t allow civilians to leave.”
He added that Islamists previously allowed civilians to leave eastern Aleppo to visit relatives, but things have rapidly changed – now militants open fire at every man trying to use the crossing.
While it may shed some light on what living in the terrorists-controlled part of Aleppo looks like, it also shows that civilians do not feel safe even on the other side of the line dividing the warring sides.
Western Aleppo, recently liberated by the Syrian Army and security forces, is considered relatively calm. But even there, people avoid walking along the streets observed by Islamist snipers and apparently tell their children to keep closer to the walls of buildings.
“Getting around for us is very hard,” an Aleppo resident told RT crew. “We have to use alleys, sideways and holes in walls. We can’t use streets, we can’t even send kids to school.”
Residential buildings in western Aleppo, seemingly affected by small arms fire and artillery shelling, have windows layered with bricks or covered with plywood – a clear reminder that no one there is immune from being killed or injured by terrorists.
RT has requested several officials of the International Committee of the Red Cross, including head of public communication Sebastien Carliez and Middle East PR officer Krista Armstrong, to comment on humanitarian situation in Aleppo.
Two other humanitarian organizations, Doctors Without Borders (MSF) and Human Rights Watch were also approached for comment.