This piece in VZGLIAD recounts how 48 people, mainly women and children, were saved from East Aleppo. It is a very paltry result of the recent ceasefire, but still very important to those particular individuals.
Major-General Igor Konashenkov, as spokesperson for the Russian Defense Ministry, recounted how a handful of civilians were able to use the brief ceasefire in order to escape from the besieged part of the city. They had been trapped there for many months, used as human shields by the radical Islamist terrorists.
Recall that a brief ceasefire was announced last Thursday. It was hoped that many many more civilians would be able to escape to the safer government-controlled area of West Aleppo. Unfortunately, the terrorists were effective in preventing ordinary people from escaping the battlefield. With threats of sniper attacks and punishments, they kept most civilians obediently holed up in their basements. And after just a couple of days the humanitarian ceasefire broke down over the weekend, giving very few results. Among the few fortunate ones, however, were a small group of 48 people who were successfully evacuated to government-controlled areas.
Recall the two main sides in this bloody and unforgiving war: On one side there is the Syrian government and army; their allies include the Russian Federation and Hezbollah.
On the other side there is the Saudi/NATO coalition, consisting of the U.S. and its NATO allies, and Saudi Arabia, along with ISIS, Al Qaeda, and the “Moderate Terrorists”.
Ground Zero of the front line of this war: The ancient city of Aleppo, the northern capital of Syria, located 360 km from Damascus. Al Qaeda terrorists control an ever-shrinking eastern half of the city. They are slowly but surely losing to the Syrian army, which is assisted by Russian air and ground forces. Several times the terrorists were offered safe passage to leave, even with their weapons in hand. Every attempt was made to avoid a war of attrition, since both sides are frankly exhausted.
Unfortunately, the terrorists, whose strategic decisions are actually made in Washingon DC, have decided that Aleppo is where they will make their final stand against the Syrian government. The refused to leave, and are ready to fight to the death. From the American point of view: The Obama Administration still grasp onto the tenuous hope that they can win this war in Syria and overthrow Assad. From the terrorists point of view: Some of these guys are just mercenaries, but many of them are true fanatics. Northern Syria is the Biblical Armageddon. (At least in their crazy minds.) Jihadists believe that if they are martyred precisely in this place, then they are guaranteed a spot in the highest levels of Paradise.
Hence the bloody war of attrition is fated to continue, until almost no brick is left standing in the city; and with innocent civilians caught in the crossfire.
“They Were Afraid Of the Light”
Sergei Kapitsyn, one of the Russians involved in the humanitarian efforts around Aleppo, recounts how a mere 4 dozen civilians were able to get out of this hellhole over the weekend: “As we drove them away, the children were crying. They were terrified to be out in the open. They were afraid of the light. But eventually they started to smile. It worked out okay in the end.”
It is a well-known phenomenon that people who are trapped and/or held hostage, usually fall into passivity. Like a bunny hypnotized by a snake, they become averse to taking even the slightest risk. So too with the civilians trapped in East Aleppo. Most are hiding in their basements like frightened animals, probably praying for a miracle, and too terrified to take any positive action to better their own situation.
Only the gutsiest people took advantage of the ceasefire and actually made the resolve to flee. The terrorists had been warning the people constantly that anybody who attempted to leave would be shot by snipers or blown up with grenades. But somehow a secret messaging system was worked out, a type of “underground railroad”. There was a very brief window of opportunity. And 48 people were able to take advantage of this. “These are our people,” said Hussein Ahmad Diab, the Governor of Aleppo. “We have prepared everything that they need in the humanitarian centers. And we hope that others will be able to follow their example.”
One of the refugees recounted the horror: “We were able to escape from this blockade. Just look and see how frightened the children are. They were very afraid of the militants, who went around cutting off hands and heads, for the slightest infraction. The children witnessed these bestial crimes with their own eyes. They are very stressed out, they need psychological therapy.”
One of the children, young Bashar, recounted how the terrorists had once beaten him: Bashar had been carrying home a loaf of bread for his family. A terrorist accosted him and demanded the bread. When he refused and called the man a thief, the terrorist smashed open a nearby window, grabbed a shard of glass, and attacked the child with it, cutting open his hand. Fortunately, Bashar was able to get away, and a local doctor treated his wound.
Bashar and his family decided to leave, but were thwarted in their first attempt. The terrorists chased after people, caught them, beat them and shot them. The terrorists even rounded up several children and threw them in jail.
As the noose tightens around the city, residents were left without food or medicines. Everything went to the terrorists. The terrorists took all the food, leaving only stale crusts for the ordinary people. When somebody got sick, instead of medicine the terrorists would tell them to “pray” to get better.
Now that Bashar and this small group were finally able to escape, they will be offered assistance, as well as can be. Some lucky ones have relatives with whom they can stay. Others will have to go to relocation centers.
Somewhere around 3,000 civilians are left behind in the part of the city controlled by an estimated 7,000 terrorists belonging to various jihadi sects and criminal bands.
All part of Barack Obama’s glorious plan to bring “democracy” to the Middle East.