Aleppo residents show devastation, say goodbye on social media
'My heart is beating so I will just keep hope,' says besieged Aleppo journalist Zouhir al-Shimale
As the shelling and airstrikes resume in Aleppo, social media has provided eyes on the ground and insight into what life is like for the residents still there. Their view is largely one of destruction and devastation as bombs continue to fall.
Though service in the area is spotty, activists and freelance journalists have been posting frequent video updates and photos to Twitter, sometimes with the preface that it may be their last.
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Here's a look at what four Aleppo residents have been seeing and hearing over the past few days.
Bilal Abdul Kareem
The Syria-based U.S. journalist and filmmaker has been posting self-shot video updates chronicling daily life in Aleppo. Among the most chilling of his recent posts was a simple 18-second video showing what it sounds like as he brushes his teeth at the start of the day.
"This is a normal morning here in Aleppo," Kareem said, appearing unfazed by the endless explosions and fighting heard in the background.
What's it like covering the war in E. Aleppo? Here is what it sounds like when you get up to brush your teeth in the morning. <a href="https://t.co/df35rkVs1B">pic.twitter.com/df35rkVs1B</a>—@BilalKareem
On Monday, he posted a video he said might be his "final message." But he has posted several times since, most recently on Wednesday, when he gave an update on the resumed shelling and encouraged onlookers to "stay engaged."
After an agreement was reached last night, regime forces are intensely shelling the Aleppo. People must stay engaged! Retweet! <a href="https://t.co/NURBUXVGkN">pic.twitter.com/NURBUXVGkN</a>—@BilalKareem
Al-Shimale is a freelance journalist based in eastern Aleppo. He spoke CBC Radio's The Current on Wednesday, giving an update on the civilian situation in the city. He has also been posting updates on Twitter.
Cluster bombs attacks now.. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SaveOurSoul?src=hash">#SaveOurSoul</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Save_Aleppo?src=hash">#Save_Aleppo</a><br>We are being killed now!<br>Maybe will lose the connection shortly. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Aleppo?src=hash">#Aleppo</a> <a href="https://t.co/CEHxXyY4bF">pic.twitter.com/CEHxXyY4bF</a>—@ZouhirAlShimale
"The situation is really intense," said al-Shimale, as bombs could be heard in the background. "[Civilians] are dying in the streets because they have no treatment."
Breaking Update: Regime artillery forces have resumed their attacks against the east of <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Aleppo?src=hash">#Aleppo</a><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Stand4Aleppo?src=hash">#Stand4Aleppo</a><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/AleppoExtermination?src=hash">#AleppoExtermination</a> <a href="https://t.co/68vGcOOgtN">pic.twitter.com/68vGcOOgtN</a>—@ZouhirAlShimale
He estimates about 50,000 to 60,000 people remain in Aleppo, though some have been killed in the attacks. The United Nations reported that pro-government forces killed at least 82 civilians earlier this week, including women and children.
"My heart is beating so I will just keep hope," he told The Current.
The Current also spoke to Shamy, an anti-regime activist living in Aleppo. She has been posting online pleas, asking the online world to pay attention to what is going on in Aleppo.
Assad & Iranians broke the ceasefire. the genocide still ongoing!<br>No one could leave the city<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/StandWithAleppo?src=hash">#StandWithAleppo</a><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Aleppo?src=hash">#Aleppo</a> <a href="https://t.co/rKencmZ3eN">pic.twitter.com/rKencmZ3eN</a>—@Linashamy
Many people have been fleeing their homes, Shamy said, noting that she has had to move from locations, which gave her a glimpse at the extent of the damage in her city.
"I really can't recognize the streets due to the bombing … everything has changed," she said. "I really, really can't think or expect what will happen."
Assad regime is bombing my district now, Accompanied with a storming attempt by regime &their allies to storm the district<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/StandWithAleppo?src=hash">#StandWithAleppo</a> <a href="https://t.co/TD3piCwJMO">pic.twitter.com/TD3piCwJMO</a>—@Linashamy
Almost all of her recent tweets have been paired with the hashtag #StandWithAleppo, being used by many to condemn the situation in Syria.
Alhamdu is an English professor in East Aleppo. He spoke to CBC Radio's As It Happens last week, saying the bombing is constant and many people are afraid of going outside.
My wife told me tonight "Why don't they kill us once. Why do they kill us every minute". People are dying psychologically and physically.—@Mr_Alhamdo
"The most common thing that I see in the eyes of people is fear. The fear is in the eyes of children, women, old people, students, teachers," he said.
"You can't imagine the amount of shelling, OK? And you know the shelling is faster than you can do anything. It falls beside you and kills you."
Alhamdu posted a scathing critique of the international community to Periscope on Monday, in what he said was his "last call."
مباشر على <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Periscope?src=hash">#Periscope</a> the last call from <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Aleppo?src=hash">#Aleppo</a> <a href="https://t.co/ifzUwupFK1">https://t.co/ifzUwupFK1</a>—@Mr_Alhamdo
"Don't believe anymore in [the] United Nations, don't believe anymore in the international community … They are satisfied we are being killed," he told the camera during a bleak three-minute rant.
"Don't believe that you are free people in your countries anymore."