The Expected Massacres
"No place now to go. It's the last place."
"I don't know really what to say. Words can't go out now. I hope you can do something to stop the expected massacres."
"No one slept this night. I just slept for an hour. My wife, my daughter, all the people who I know, they're ..."
Ahdulkafi al-Hmdo, Syrian English teacher, east Aleppo
"We may not be able to send any more messages as regime forces push closer and closer."
"This may be close to if not the last communication."
"You really blew it this time. You really really had an opportunity to be the hero, fly in here with a cape and help out these poor people."
Bilal Abdul Kareem, American journalist, east Aleppo
"I am waiting to die or be captured by the Assad regime."
"Pray for me and always remember us."
Ameen al-Halabi, photographer, east Aleppo
While it was raining, and the cease-fire held, thousands of Syrian Sunnis, men, women, children, trudged out of east Aleppo to find hopeful haven from the most immediate effects of the Syrian regime's war on its Sunni population. They were assured safety if they went toward Kurdish protection. They were assured more of the same if they streamed toward those areas still held by the rebels. Some of them would never again stream anywhere, summarily executed by Syrian troops whom they had the misfortune of coming across, a little glitch in the ceasefire.
It was, in any event, a ceasefire that, like all others, had no staying power. Russia claiming on behalf of the Syrian regime it so stoutly defends, that the rebels broke the agreement, certainly not the military. As though the honour of Hezbollah, the Iranian-supplied Shia militias and the Alawite regime's military would be impugned despite their righteous declaration of commitment to defeating "terrorists" for the greater good of the country.
The opposition "terrorists" have been giving west Allepo residents a taste of the gory misery suffered by east Aleppo residents.
And while the rain added to the misery of the tens of thousands of Sunni Syrians in east Aleppo made homeless and fearing for their lives through the relentless government onslaught, let alone envisioning what will ensue when their ruined urban landscape streams with government soldiers and Shiite militias, anticipating a slaughter to come on a much larger scale than the initial one hundred residents summarily dispatched to death, it had a positive aspect in that the bombing temporarily halted since the planes court disaster flying in those conditions.
There is nothing of any value whatsoever left in east Aleppo. Which once housed an estimated two and a half million people. East Aleppo is a forlorn wasteland, a once-thriving business hub, a beautiful city with heritage substance and cultural value whose population lived in near first-world economic security has been reduced to a faded memory. All hospitals, medical clinics, schools and other civic structures of merit and need have been deliberately targeted and destroyed. Medical personnel are huddled together in cloistered areas hoping to survive the deluge of bombs.
It is no longer possible to collect the dead for burial, to bring the injured for medical aid to medical institutions for such civilizational edifices no longer exist in east Aleppo. The siege has led to scarcity of potable water, edible food, any notion of normalization where even band-aids might be available to help secure massive wounds. Backed by air power from Russia the Assad regime has destroyed the rebel defence networks, leaving over 100,000 people still moored and mired within the destroyed city, fearful of the regime's advance and what it will mean to their hopes for survival.
"Activists in Aleppo are tweeting out their final, harrowing goodbyes. They will almost certainly be detained/tortured/killed upon capture."
"The sinking feeling in your stomach as you read contacts' last messages from Aleppo. God forgive us for not helping our own people."