Post by: Chief News Editor | Published: September 27, 2016 , 8:38 am | Category: WORLD
ISTANBUL — In Syria, necessity is the mother of invention.
Amid bombs and scarcity, residents of Aleppo learn new ways to cook with whatever is left in their city. They figure out how to light the remnants of their homes without any electricity. And they carry each other to the hospital, because there is no gas or spare parts for ambulances.
They’ve also become de facto paramedics to bombing victims because there aren’t many doctors left in the besieged city.
“Hospitals are going out of service because of the bombing, and doctors here are very scarce,” said Hasnaa Dahnon, 34, who lives in eastern Aleppo. “I learned how to conduct first aid and civil defense to help my neighbors in the building.”
Dahnon said the city was hammered with cluster and phosphorous bombs.
“Yesterday, people were on the ground, the scene was heartbreaking,” she said in a phone interview. “There were no cars, no fuel. People were carrying each other to hospitals. We learned how to deal with normal rockets and barrel bombs, but we still don’t know how to survive these new weapons.”
As a cease-fire negotiated by the United States and Russia this month appeared abandoned, Syrian and Russian attacks on rebel-held areas of Aleppo since Friday were among the fiercest of the country’s 5-year-old civil war. Aleppo had been the country’s commercial center before the conflict devastated it.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Monday that Syria and Russia “seem intent on taking Aleppo and destroying it in the process,” the Associated Press reported.
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem said earlier Monday that a cease-fire is “not dead.”
Al-Moallem, in an interview broadcast on Mayadeen TV from New York, also said Syrian President Bashar Assad is prepared to take part in a unity government, incorporating elements from the opposition, the AP reported.
Kerry said that “while they’re pounding Aleppo, dropping indiscriminate bombs, killing women and children, talk of a unity government is pretty complicated.”
Airstrikes Monday on Aleppo killed at least 12 people, including three children, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. More than 200 civilians have been killed in the past week by bombings. The United Nations Security Council convened an emergency meeting Sunday but failed to take any action because of deep divisions between Russia and the West, according to the AP.
“We worry continuously. We can only live in the moment, day to day,” said Abu Nabil, 33, in a phone interview. “The bombardment is unprecedented, and the sound of jets is continuous.”
Dahnon, who lives with her husband and two children — Nour, 14, and Fateh, 7 — said conditions have been deteriorating for months.
“We don’t have anything in the markets here: no fruit, vegetables, dairy products. We have rice, noodles that we’re cooking. We get them from (agencies) that distribute aid here, but even those organizations are running out of food. I think the aid can last for 15 more days. Kids who are under 1-year-old are running out of milk.”
Dahnon also said her family has no electricity, with 80% of the generators in the city no longer working.
“We’re inventing new ways to cook, with candles and some petroleum, or we use timber,” she said. “Some areas are still getting one or two hours of electricity a day, but after 8 p.m., you can’t walk out in the streets. It’s all dark, no open shops, no streetlight. Town life is completely dead at night.”
Nabil, an attorney who lives with his family in the western part of Aleppo, which is under government control, said he is one of the fortunate ones with generators.
“For two months, we have had no electricity but for an hour every 36 hours. We live on private generators, for which we pay a large sum. Many people from Aleppo cannot afford the cost,” Nabil said.
Dahnon said there was some relief, during the cease-fire that lasted a week.
“It was a great situation for kids. They had been locked at home for a very long time, unable to go to parks. All our parks have become cemeteries for martyrs. Kids’ zones are all underground. The children needed to get some fresh air, finally,” Dahnon said.
She cannot send her children to school now, because it is “impossible” to leave home.
Despite the devastation, Dahnon, like many in Aleppo, remains resolute about staying in the city.
“We’re not leaving after five years of facing hunger, death. … We will not leave our homes. Not me. I know that many families cannot take it anymore, and that they are waiting for a humanitarian path to be opened. I can understand them, but I will not leave.”
Alkousaa reported from New York.
NEWS COLLECTED FROM USA TODAY.