Nfld. & Labrador

Syrian refugees in Newfoundland can only watch as Aleppo destroyed

Syrian refugees who've settled in Newfoundland and Labrador say the destruction in Aleppo and across their home country is devastating.

'Why [isn't] the world [helping] them?'

Mohidim Ilrhab and Nezar Khlifa (right) are two Syrian refugees who have settled in St. John's (CBC)

As the bombing of Aleppo resumed on Wednesday afternoon, Syrian refugees who have resettled in St. John's say they can only watch as the destruction continues in their home country.

The refugees in St. John's continue to call for government intervention into the deadly conflict in Syria, which looks to soon enter its sixth year.

CBC News spoke to the group of new Canadian residents as they took a break from their language learning classes offered by the Association for New Canadians in St. John's.

"A lot of children, every day, [are dying]," said Nezar Khlifa. "Why [isn't] the world [helping] them? And every day, [bombs] from the airplane."

There was heavy bombardment Wednesday in east Aleppo, as a ceasefire deal to evacuate residents began to collapse. Here's a roof-top view. (Salah Ashkar via Associated Press)

The man from Daraa, on the southern side of Syria, said he knows many people in Aleppo, and many who are in need of profound help.

"A lot of people who need help, every day. Don't eat. Too cold for them. We don't have [food],"  he said.

Smoke rises following a Syrian government air strike on rebel positions, in eastern Aleppo, Syria, on Dec. 5. (Hassan Ammar/The Associated Press)

Mohidim Ilrhab, a Syrian from Homs, said it's difficult for him to be in Canada while the war rages in his home country.

"Difficult, because we are staying here." he said. "Visit, come, go to friends, your friends come — But in Syria, every day people die. All people are hungry. [Bombs] every day."

Airstrikes and shelling continue, putting a hold on ceasefire deal 1:21

Most everyone in Syria have connections to Aleppo, added Randa Al-Sheik, a Syrian woman from Idlib. The city is currently under siege, and facing a crisis which the United Nations said is a "complete meltdown of humanity."

"I watch the bombing, and the events in Syria, especially in Aleppo … We couldn't do anything, just watching. I cannot express about my feeling. It's so horrible, and so bad," she said.

"All people [who] live in Aleppo [are] our siblings, our family."

Syrians leave a rebel-held area of Aleppo towards the government-held side on December 13, 2016 during an operation by Syrian government forces to retake the embattled city. (Karam al-Masri/AFP/Getty Images)

Al-Sheik said she hasn't had any friends or family die in Aleppo, but has lost people in other parts of Syria.

"We talk about [it], but we cannot do anything here," she said. "Maybe just we must [keep] talking to our governments and to other communities. Just to help if they can please help Aleppo."

Fared El-Sheik, speaking through a translator, told a remarkable story of a government soldier allegedly entering a home and killing a 15-year-old boy in Syria.

Fared El-Sheik, speaking through a translator, told a remarkable story of a government soldier allegedly entering a home and killing a 15-year-old boy in Syria. (CBC)

"There's nothing like this happened before, we need everything to be stopped. The violence to be stopped," his translator relayed.

With files from Todd O'Brien, On The Go, Thomson Reuters