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8 Dec, 2016 16:57

Held at gunpoint: Liberated E. Aleppo resident recounts months with almost no food or water

An RT crew was among the first to speak to residents of Aleppo evacuated after spending months trapped in militant-held parts of the city. The residents had almost no food or water, and were told by militants they would be killed if they tried to escape.

RT has received first-hand accounts describing the atrocities and suffering Aleppo locals faced after the city fell into the hands of terrorists. People were starving, had no water and were forcefully prevented from running away.

“We’ve been in a very miserable situation. For four months no bread, no water, we’ve been treated very badly. But thanks to Allah, when the army came, we’ve moved here,” a resident evacuated from the Old City district in Aleppo told RT.

“We tried to escape twice before, but they [militants] threatened us with weapons and made us go back,” he said.

Those who were finally liberated say they are hugely grateful to the Syrian government soldiers who freed them, with many looking forward to being reunited with their families after becoming separated.

Another resident came to meet his 13 family members, whom he hasn’t seen for five years as they were trapped in the rebel-held part of Aleppo.

“I can’t explain my feelings, I’m so grateful to the Syrian Army, from generals to soldiers, they’ve done so much for our country” he said, waiting for his relatives to arrive.

Another man, who also came to meet a relative, said that “the Syrian Army has brought relief to its citizens.”

“My family tried to escape, but the militants stopped them. The militants were shelling ordinary people preventing them from leaving. But thanks to Allah, the Syrian Army is helping my family to get out of there,” he added.

As the Syrian troops that have already retaken more than two thirds of Aleppo continue their offensive, more and more people are expected to need humanitarian assistance.

Russian philanthropist Elizaveta Glinka, also known as Dr. Liza, who received a Russian award for human rights and charity work on Wednesday, announced her plans to go to Syria to help deal with the crisis.

“Like other humanitarian volunteers, we are never sure if we are going to come back home alive, because war is hell on Earth. And I know what I’m talking about,” Dr. Liza said, also commemorating Russian health workers who were recently killed in Syria.

In response, President Vladimir Putin, who was handing out the award, supported Glinka’s initiative to lift all unnecessary restrictions on the supplies of medical equipment and drugs, especially on those sent to conflict zones.

“People are deprived of simple medical aid, especially during war, and civilians and unfortunately children suffer most,” Putin said.

On Wednesday, the Russian military said that more than 1,200 civilians fled militant-held areas of Aleppo and were provided with water, food, and medical assistance at humanitarian centers set up by Russia in the neighborhoods controlled by the government.