Shoks Mnisi Mzolo – Cii News | 19 Jumadal Ukhra 1436/09 April 2015

More than 200,000 lives have been claimed by the Syrian civil war that began nearly four years ago. Terror has now engulfed Idlib, in northern Syria. Images from that Middle Eastern state’s city paint a picture of pain and hopelessness. Briefly, and perhaps crudely, Idlib is bleeding. Syrian president Bashar Al-Assad’s army is blamed for the shelling the area now.

“Civilians have left the city and they are trying to find (safe places). Not only are the bombings affecting the Idlib city, the civilians there, but the whole villages around the Idlib area. Just only three days ago (the Syrian army) bombed villages,” humanitarian activist and journalist Fikre Shaban told Cii. “Nine people were killed, most of them kids. We received in our hospital – which is funded by Gift of the Givers, from South Africa – 25 casualties… we also received a nine-year-old girl, the doctors tried to save her, but unfortunately she became a shahid.”

With this heart-rending state of affairs in the background, Shaban, who spoke to Cii listeners, while in Turkey after leaving Syria yesterday, broke down and shed a tear during the interview. What bothers Shaban is why Al-Assad directs the army to bombard every seized city, thus harming as well as displacing ordinary civilians, rather than tackling Free Syrian army fighters head on.

The villages and cities attracting Al-Assad’s firepower, bombarded day and night, are inhabited by ordinary people and there is no Free Syrian or Islamic State fighters, said Shaban, taken aback by the state-sponsored terror. “You can’t say it’s a war between two sides,” he said, adding that civilians are exposed to violence and terror from both the government and Free Syrian sides.

“Just yesterday, the whole day, when I was sitting in the hospital doing my job I heard all the sounds of bombs, from tanks, everywhere around the villages. I was right through the Turkish border, just to come back to Turkey, it was around 18h30 or 19h00 – sounds of the bombs dropping… Everyday this is what’s happening inside Syria,” the humanitarian and journalist explained, noting that Al-Assad’s artillery have destructed infrastructure and all hospitals – big and small – in Idlib. “It’s a war crime, just to attack hospitals, isn’t it?”

Everywhere you look are destroyed tanks and cars. Countless buildings, those that are still standing, are pockmarked by airstrikes and bombs. Not a single hospital is still standing in Idlib, whose residents are punished because the president’s foes took over. In other parts of Syria, hospitals and other facilities have been torched and bombed. Meanwhile, Shaban laments, world leaders are doing nothing to stop terror in this country that is home to 23 million people.

The humanitarian reminded Cii listeners that Al-Assad vowed to cull the population back to just 7 million. Added to the hundreds of thousands that have perished or injured, since 2012, a huge 6 million Syrians have been turned into refugees, he added. A million children are orphaned. What ever happened to the United Nations and, in general, international solidarity even at state level?

“It is the duty of other countries in the world, in the international community, to work very hard just to stop this war and bring two groups together or if they are saying it loudly in France, in USA, in Europe, in Arab countries that: ‘no more leader Al-Assad’,” he said. It’s now up to the world community to return Syria to normality or risk having it wiped out. Al-Assad’s relentless terrorism has destroyed half the country as we speak, said Shaban. The next half is in danger.