The shaky ceasefire in Syria has come to an end today and in Aleppo, violence has again erupted. Adnan, aid worker in Aleppo, regularly keeps us up to speed of the situation in his country and of the difficulties he is facing on a daily basis.
The truce was foremost meant to bring much-needed aid to the victims of the Syrian conflict. Unfortunately, the outcome of a relatively quiet week in Syria turned out to be quite disappointing. Nonetheless, Adnan is happy with the aid he was able to provide to a large group of IDPs who are living in a rural area southeast of his city.
What can you tell us about the immediate effects of the ceasefire in Syria and, more specifically, in Aleppo?
Unfortunately, there have been 38 documented cases of breaches of the truce. Last week it was Eid al Adha, the Sacrifice Feast, an important holiday for Muslims all over the world. The armed opposition has launched more than 10 missiles and 25 mortars on residential areas and the Syrian army replied with heavy artillery in return. So for the people of Aleppo the situation remained pretty much the same, the explosions were just less frequent.
The ceasefire was meant to make humanitarian aid possible. Is that really happening now?
Not yet. The agreement between the Americans and the Russians stipulated the withdrawal of the Syrian army from Castello Road [the only supply line leading to the opposition-controlled areas of Aleppo] and securing the entrance of humanitarian aid to the eastern part of Aleppo by the Russian army. The armed opposition was not supposed to attack the road, but that part of the agreement was also breached. Local news declares that the Syrian army will redeploy along the road.
People got out of their homes, went out to markets, went to a café or visited relatives. That must have given them some kind of psychological comfort.
What can you tell us about your work at the moment? How is it going?
I just came back from a four-day trip to the eastern and southern rural part of Aleppo, where we were distributing 4,050 food parcels. We also provided more than 20,000 pieces of clothing for residents affected by the current situation and IDPs. What I saw as a good thing was that I left Aleppo on the Castello Road before the truce and I went back via the Ramuseh Road, of which control was only recently regained from the armed opposition after the latest massive attack. The road is now open to civilians and declared safe. It wasn’t 100% safe. I heard a lot of gunshots while traveling. But at least this road is paved and it shortens the duration of the trip with about 90 minutes.
What can you tell usabout daily life in Aleppo during the truce?
People got out of their homes, went out to markets, went to a café or visited relatives. Some people hadn’t been able to do those things for a long time. That must have given them some kind of psychological comfort.
What is the biggest concern in Syria at the moment, regarding the distribution of aid?
There is a major concern right now about the entry of humanitarian aid convoys. A lot of them are not being checked by the army or security forces. People are worried they might contain weapons, explosives or ammunition. That would mean the government unintentionally contributes to the distribution of weapons to the opposition in the eastern regions. Weapons that might be used against civilians in the western regions.