What You Need To Know:
✅ Tens of thousands of rebel fighters and civilians remain trapped and surrounded in a largely destroyed patch of eastern Aleppo. Pro-Assad and opposition forces continue to negotiate their release and safe passage through government-held territory, although Iran and its Shi’ite allies have disrupted the operation.
✅ The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has warned of the deteriorating humanitarian situation. Many residents are forced to sleep outside in freezing temperatures or need treatment for injuries.
✅ Dozens of unverified videos from eastern Aleppo have appeared on social media showing people fleeing gunfire, being detained or sustaining injuries as they tried to leave the city earlier this week.
✅ Syrian journalist and activist Monther Etaky tells Hromadske ‘we are revolutionaries… I can’t accept to live under the Assad control or in his prisons’.
“We are revolutionaries… I can’t accept to live under the Assad control or in his prisons,” says Monther Etaky, a Syrian journalist and activist currently trapped in his eastern Aleppo home. Over the last couple of days, people in the eastern part of Aleppo have been posting their final goodbyes on social media, but Etaky is not planning to surrender: “I will defend myself and my family by legal ways.”
The activist hopes to stay in his house, that the Assad regime will fall and that Russian and Iranian forces will leave Syria. Only six neighborhoods remained in rebel control when Hromadske spoke with Mr. Etaky on December 14.
The evacuation, which should have started on December 15th was stopped by Iranian militias. “All the progress of the evacuation has paused for a while,” he says, adding that Iranians are breaking this deal for their own benefit.
Ekaty says government forces are killing civilians who enter eastern Aleppo—a strategy used by the Assad regime. While many people are waiting to be evacuated, those who have managed to leave their neighborhoods are now looking for food, shelter, and water. “This can be a struggle for a lot of time because of a lack of everything.”
Hromadske’s Olga Datsiuk spoke to Monther Etaky, a journalist and activist in eastern Aleppo, Syria via Skype on December 14th, 2016.