Munitions class: RT visits Aleppo school used by militants as weapons storage & factory
Fighting in eastern Aleppo ceased at the end of last year, and now, three months into 2017, Aleppo children are returning to school. Joining some of them on their way to one of the schools still standing in the Masaken Hanano district of eastern Aleppo, the first thing RT’s Lizzie Phelan and her crew see adorning the school’s outer wall is an enormous banner with a warning for children to watch out for unused mines and munitions left behind by the rebels. The sign explains how to identify dangerous objects and what to do if they come across any.
A visit to another school – in Bustan al Qasr disctrict – brought the crew even more worrying discoveries.
“Here there’s writing on the wall that says Jabhat Al-Nusra, above – the Jihadi flag, here – the leftovers of infamous hell cannons that opposition forces were using so frequently, [which] they would fill with explosives and fire into government-held areas…”
The next rooms on the ground floor look more like storage rooms, scattered with chemicals and shells for manufacturing improvised explosive devices.
“Everywhere here we’re seeing the residues of explosives and chemicals that were used to make bombs. Here (pointing to the bags on the floor) it says ammonium nitrate, this one coming from Turkey.”
Next to the materials there are metal barrels used for mixing up explosive substances, some of them still filled with remnants of the deadly mixtures.
“Even though this school has been cleared by demining teams, the dangers are still everywhere – buckets full of explosive leftovers, these buildings are unsecure.”
Despite the dangers, the destroyed area is now a children’s playground. They showed the RT crew the basement of their school, which they say was used by militants as a jail.
“I used to live nearby, the militants would torture people – we could hear the screams, and we could hear the militants telling prisoners, ‘you have to join us – if you refuse you will be executed,’” a local boy no older than 12 tells RT.
Over half of the schools in eastern Aleppo have been completely destroyed by fighting and airstrikes, Lizzie Phelan, who has been following the situation in Syria for five years now, states.