Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Terrorism: "Rebels" shell Aleppo as anxious social media hashtags cry for end to violence

"Aleppo is being slaughtered" and "Save Aleppo" are new hashtags sweeping local social network websites in Syria, as the rebels have been on a relentless campaign of shelling over the past three days, leaving hundreds of people either killed or wounded.

The whining, and whistling of the mortar shells as well as their deep rumbling sound upon impact, followed by the wailing sirens of ambulances and fire engines, were everything the people in Aleppo have been hearing for the last three days, since the rebels in eastern Aleppo went on a spree of shelling, targeting government-controlled neighborhoods.

The state of fear, resentment and grief has eclipsed Aleppo, Syria's second largest city and once an economic hub.

Over 1,100 mortar shells and improvised rockets slammed into Aleppo during the last three days, killing at least 50 people and wounding 400 others, not to mention the property losses of the Aleppans, who are among the most affected in the Syrian war.

Firefighters haven't found a minute of rest, as they are moving from one district to another trying to save as many as possible, especially those stuck under the rubble.

The blind shelling has targeted over 30 districts with different kinds of artillery, mainly the mortar shells and the "Hell Cannon," which is a general name used to describe a class of mortar-like improvised firearms in-use by insurgent forces during the war, mainly in the Aleppo area. It was first noted in 2013 and a number of home-made cannon variants have appeared in Syria since.


The people in Aleppo are boiling with anger, vehemently urging the government to quickly act to put an end to the deadly attacks that have added to the woes of the locals.

On Monday, the state-run Sama TV aired interviews with the angry people of Aleppo, just as a mortar shell slammed nearby.

The amount of anger exploding on a national TV was the first of its kind in the whole coverage of the official Syrian media.

One man came running from a cross the street, interrupting the reporter who was on a live coverage.

"Talk to me, talk to me, aren't you going to rid us of the terrorists before they eliminate us. It's enough, It's enough... Oh the government, oh the army, oh the president help us they just burnt my car. It's enough, they want to eliminate us," the angry man said, shouting his head off.

His wife came following him, also screaming on the camera: "It's enough destroy Bani Zaid and let's get done with this."

Bani Zaid as well as the Bustan al-Basha and Bab al-Hadid are districts in eastern Aleppo controlled by the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front and other rebel brigades, and are the source of the mortar shells and the Hell Cannon.

Such areas have become a living nightmare for the people in western Aleppo, which has started suffering the frequent shelling in late 2012, before heavily intensifying in recent days.

"I have lost my wife, house and car... look at the destruction they have left. They killed us and destroyed our properties... there everything is burning and the firefighters haven't come yet," another angry man shouted.


The Truce of Death was another hashtag that was created during the last two days in Aleppo, referring the shaky truce that has been backed by the United States and Russia and went into effect in Syria last February.

The truce has excluded the Nusra Front and the Islamic State (IS) group, but the problem was that there are small groups that have pledged alliance to either group and those made applying the truce in Aleppo a difficult thing.

The people in Aleppo called the truce a truce of death because for them nothing has really changed, especially with the recent flared up attacks.

While the Syrian army said it had committed to the truce, which wasn't acknowledged by the rebels, the Nusra group and allied militants unleashed three wide-scale offensive on Syrian military positions in Aleppo over the past couple of weeks.

The army units have reportedly repelled the attacks, and engaged in more battles against the assailants.

As part of the old-new tactic, the insurgents started showering Aleppo with rockets to wobble the government's grip on power, and to turn the people in government-held areas against the government.

On Sunday, the Syrian army foiled a massive infiltration attempt by opposition militants in the western part of Aleppo, killing many of them, a military source told Xinhua.

The armed militants attempted to infiltrate the al-Assad Suburb west of Aleppo at dawn Sunday, but the Syrian army repelled the attack, after carrying out air strikes against the attackers' positions and shelling them with rockets and artillery, the source said on condition of anonymity.

He said the infiltrators were sneaking into the area through the sewage system.

The government forces backed by the Lebanese Hezbollah group and the Russian air force are trying to isolate the rebels in Aleppo and cut their supply lines from neighboring Turkey and other rebel-held areas in northern Syria, while the rebels are fighting to keep such lines opened.
 [Xinhua - globaltimes.cn]


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