Eastern Aleppo neighbourhoods in four years of Syrian regime control | Military operations claim the lives of dozens of civilians…Severe crises…Security chaos and “Shabiha” practices worsen living conditions
Four years have passed since the Syrian regime regained control of the eastern neighbourhoods of Aleppo and the entire city of Aleppo, on December 21, 2016, following a Russian-Iranian-Turkish agreement, which resulted in the displacement of 27,000 people from these neighbourhoods, including 7,000 fighters, after crippling and barbaric siege by regime forces and loyal militias.
In the following report, SOHR sheds light on the current situation in the eastern neighbourhoods of Aleppo, 48 months after regime forces took control of these areas.
Collapse of war-damaged residential buildings…devastation caused by the Syrian regime’s missiles and barrel-bombs
Although many civilians have gradually returned to the eastern neighbourhoods of Aleppo, and revived the rest of their areas, the scenes of devastation bear witness to the regime military operations of systematic destruction, killing and displacing the Syrian people.
Many war-damaged residential buildings have become uninhabitable as a result of air and ground bombardment. But a large number of the residents were forced to live in these buildings after being deprived of their means of subsistence and being tired of displacement.
The Syrian Observatory has documented the death and injury of dozens of Aleppo residents due to the collapse of war-damaged residential buildings, 31 of whom were documented in 2019.
Late last year, 12 people were killed, including two children and four women, as a result of the collapse of a war-damaged residential building due to previous military operations in Al-Ma’adi neighbourhood.
On February 2, 2019, 11 people were killed as a result of another collapse of a 5-story war-damaged residential building in the area of Arid Al-Sabagh in Salah al-Din neighbourhood.
In mid-July 2019, three civilians were killed as the war-damaged roof of al-Kaddoumi mosque collapsed in Al-Jadida neighbourhood.
On January 7, 2019, five members of the same family, two women, two children and a man lost their lives as a result of the collapse of a war-damaged residential building in al-Salihin neighbourhood.
Major crises and security chaos in neighbourhoods
The eastern neighbourhoods of Aleppo city live in difficult conditions like all other areas held by the Syrian regime. People have access to electricity only two hours a day and is often cut off. This prompts the residents of these areas to search for alternatives means, paying for weekly or monthly subscription to get electricity, (depends on the kVA consumption), from people who have generators, which may only allow them to switch only lights and operate simple electronic devices.
Water is available intermittently, prompting civilians to pay for water tanks, in light of the prohibitively high prices of basic commodities and the long queues outside bakeries and gas stations. While more than half of the men and young people in these neighbourhoods are unemployed due to economic crises in the Syrian regime-held areas.
Meanwhile, the so-called “Shabiha of al-Berri” and other groups of “Shabiha”, which are armed militias backed by the regime, control a large number of eastern Aleppo neighbourhoods, particularly old Aleppo and Bab al-Neirab, where thefts, imposition of levies, kidnappings and looting are widespread, with the Syrian regime authorities’ consent. The regime celebrated the victory of Aleppo and the return of the city’s neighbourhoods to their full control four years ago.
Since the beginning of the escalation of shelling in eastern Aleppo neighbourhoods on April 22, 2016 until December 21, 2016, the date of bringing the area under the Syrian regime’s control, the Syrian Observatory has documented the deaths of 1,889 civilians, including 360 children and 163 women:
- 1,607 civilians, including 300 children and 139 women, were killed by hundreds of airstrikes carried out by Russian and regime jets and helicopters on most of the eastern neighbourhoods controlled by the opposition factions in Aleppo city.
- 282 civilians, including 60 children and 24 women, one of whom was an elderly woman, were killed by regime artillery shelling, tanks, mortars and rockets believed to be ground-to-ground missiles on areas in neighbourhoods of eastern Aleppo city.
The shelling also caused destruction and material damage to hundreds of homes, civilians’ property and buildings in the targeted neighbourhoods, while thousands of civilians, including hundreds of children and women sustained injuries of varying severity.
Therefore, SOHR renews its calls to bring those criminals with Syrian blood on their hands to special international courts, so that they would face justice.
SOHR also renews its calls to the international community to refer all war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Syria to the International Criminal Court, so that murderers do not go unpunished and to help the Syrian people seek liberty, democracy, justice and equality in a state that guarantees the rights of the Syrian people.