23 Nov 2016

"War", Issue 20.11.2016 with Evgeniy Poddubny, Military Correspondent of VGTRK

The video by Russia TV war reporter Evgeny Poddubny about the war in Aleppo, November 2016

The original can be found at http://rutv.ru/brand/show/id/59346

The insurgents continue to bombard the residential areas of Aleppo; just in the last few days, 12 children were killed by the terrorists, over 20 were wounded. Many school children are in critical condition; in the meantime the insurgents continue to block attemps of the civilians to leave the area of the hostilities. In order to relocate, or evacuate the civilians from the Eastern part of Aleppo, a unique special operation was organized here in the city. Learn about this in more details in the next ten minutes. It is the War in the air, the programme about how modern conflicts are constructed; about wars which are already over, are now developing or are going to start soon.

I am Evgeny Poddubny, the military reporter of VGTRK, Hello, we continue to work in the largest Syrian city.

The worse is the situation the insurgents face in the eastern part of Aleppo, the more fiercely they bombard the residential areas of the city; just in the last few days, 12 children were killed by the terrorists, over 20 were badly wounded. The insurgents bombarded a school on Sunday; the missile hit directly into the window of a class; ten people were killed instantaneously.

Two girls were killed on Friday, by a 120-mm mortyr; the Islamists were shooting from Bustan-Al-Kasr district which is controlled by the allegedly moderate opposition. In reality, the district is kept by terrorists. Two sisters were killed in a small yard of their own house, while their mother was cooking a dinner in the summer kitchen. Just in a second, the mother lost her children, they died right away. The woman was wounded by the shrapnel.

"The kids were looking for a small silver ring in the yard, they were busy looking for it; it is relatively far from the terrorists here, and it seemed that the yard, just look how small it is, was a safe place; they were chatting with their Mom, and were asking questions, and then the missile fell down."

In the meantime, the islamists are doing their best to prevent civilians from leaving the zone controlled by the insurgents.

Almost a half of the multi-million city is in the hands of extremist groups, and the islamists are using the civilians as a living shield.

The entries to the humanitarian corridors are mined; the extremists shoot at people who wish to leave the area of warfare.

This was a complicated operation in which the Syrian military, militia fighters and officers from the Russian Reconciliation Center and the Russian Humanitarian Mission took part. Nothing like this has ever been done in Aleppo before. All details were kept secret to prevent leaks to the insurgents.

A group of civilans contacted a humanitarian organization and asked for help. The people wanted to flee. The insurgents threatened to execute them. The plan was designed swiftly: the civilians should use the paths where terrorists would not expect them.

Look, the insurgents are over there, and they have excellent control over the road, but still we have a chance, and the chance is pretty good; we just need to think over the itinerary and have it explained to the people. So that they follow all instructions very carefully.

"This is the frontline" said Muhamed Ramadan, batallion commander. He tells us where the positions of the extremists are located, and how civilians, despite the great risk, still can flee to the territory under control of the Government forces, or as they say, reach 'our territory'.

Look, they should not be moving here in any case, if they go to this side, it will be a suicide. Even at night, the insurgents will notice movement and start to shoot immediately. Then, there is no chance. I suggest that they move along the fence, and we will meet them here. If something goes wrong, we will start firing at the insurgents, and will we do all it takes to rescue them.

Two families have received the necessary instructions and they have no second chance. Ten people started to move in total darkness. All they need is to pass about 600 meters, but this is, probably, the longest road these people ever had in their lives. This man is the representative of the Christian militia of Aleppo, Hamada; he is now providing the civilians with required guidance and reference points.

"Ok, well done, you are now near the bus. We can see you. Don't worry, our men are watching you and they will not let the enemy fire at you". Hamada is talking to them in a calm voice and in a relaxed manner: he wants to reassure the refugees.

"The closer you are to our positions, the safer you are". This needs to be made clear: the distance at this point between the civilians and the terrorists is not more than 50 meters.

In order to leave the territory controlled by the terrorists, the civilians have to crawl over a distance of almost one kilometer.

They are crawling now. If the insurgents notice them now the will start to fire. And the people are crawling holding small kids on their hands.

We are observing them using a thermal imaging device. We can see as the grown-ups are crawling with their children. They make stops after every 5-10 meters, to have rest and pluck up courage to take the next step.

"They are quite close. In one hour after the movement was started, ten people arrived to the destination point. Here all emotions are reduced to minimal: the insurgents are at a stone's throw.

Thank you! God save you!

Now they are safe. They are hugging unknown people, joy and tiredness, and shy glances of hungry children.

"We wanted to escape long time ago. It is just impossible to live along with terrorists. We decided to escape even though we have nowhere to live here. The escape was a lethally danngerous idea. It is impossible to live there. The bandits only give food to those who agrees to participate in war on their side. The insurgents tell people that this is according to Islam. But they are unfaithful, they know nothing about the God."

And here people tell us what is really happening on the other side, in the parts of the city occupied by the extremists. Most residents in the eastern Aleppo wish to leave, but they cannot do this, as the insurgents would either kill you or put you in prison for that. You can be taken to jail not just for an escape attempt, but even for thinking about it.

"There are terrorists from Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, and from the Caucases. They captured all food stores, and they sell food at high prices so that people would have no other choice but join their groups to receive food.

There are organizations that deal with the insurgents. Some time ago, they were giving us food, but after the Syrian army surrounded the terrorists, they have took all food storages under full control. And the food is only given to those who wage war on their side. People were trying to protest, but the bandits were swift to scatter all protests by using firearms. I make prayers that other people could escape just like we did, and all terrorists were dead. They are inhumane. Just animals deserving no forgiveness. I pray that our army, supported by Russia, liberate Aleppo.

Not only Nusra was torturing us, but even the so called Free Syrian Army (FSA). They tell us that they wage war for our freedom, but they take our food, and are not different from Al Qaeda.

There was not a single case that a hospital would be bombed in our district, I have not heard of or seen such a case, and the insurgents are lying that the Russians bomb hospitals, this is not true.

From the frontline, the refugees are taken by bus to relatively safer parts of Aleppo. Here, they call to their friends in the eastern part and say: we made it, you will make it too...

There are over 100,000 civilians in the eastern part of Aleppo, and all of them, in essence, are hostages of the terrorist groups, some of which are still called the moderate opposition by the West.

It was the War in the air, the programme about how modern conflicts are constructed; I am Evgeny Poddubny, Yuri Martchenko the cameraman, and Alexander Pushin the operator of aerial videos; in Moscow, the programme was directed by Kirill Bykov, produced by Ekaterina Sherbakova. The programme can be discussed in Twitter. Let's meet in one week, and we will still be working in Aleppo. Have peaceful skies above your heads! See you!


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