Latest news from Aleppo, Syria

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Lebanese Hezbollah members executing Syrian men

Lina Shami from Aleppo: Iran militias executed four Aleppo men

Continuing her reports from Aleppo, activist Lina Shami recently said elements of Iran on the ground have executed four men from Aleppo.

“Iran has violated all agreements. Its elements, including the Lebanese Hezbollah, directed a convoy from the besieged area of Aleppo to the western side where other regime elements were stationed. After passing through the first checkpoints where Russian troops were stationed the convoy was directed to the next checkpoint belonging to the Lebanese Hezbollah. This shocked all the convoy passengers as this was never part of the agreement,” Shami reported on Saturday, December 17th.

“The Lebanese Hezbollah forced Red Cross representatives out of the area and brought in an armored vehicle to block the road. Then they brought two heavy machine guns and ordered all the men out of the convoy. They forced them to strip their clothes and lay on the ground. Hezbollah members then executed four of the men,” she added.

“They also confiscated all personal belongings such as personal documents and mobile phones. We are asking for international observers and U.N. to accompany all the civilian and rebel convoys to ensure each and every person is evacuated safely out of Aleppo,” Shami reported.

“At night the convoy abducted by the Lebanese Hezbollah was returned to the besieged area. They also returned the bodies of the four executed men… 20 minutes later a Russian officer and ICRC members arrived at the checkpoint and negotiations began. It was clear Russia cannot stick to any agreement or control Iran’s measures… People are in total fear. They cannot trust any statements anymore,” Shami continued.

 

Women & Children of Aleppo: Revolution will be victorious, we will return

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Syrian children evacuating Aleppo

Aleppo civilians are expressing their feelings as they are forced to depart their beloved city.

“We have been forced to leave Aleppo. We were never afraid of the air strikes. No, we endured the air strikes for 6 years. We evacuated the city to protect our loved ones from the Bashar Assad regime. They will not be able to attack our loved ones… God willing we will return. We are victorious. We left Aleppo with our heads high and will return with our heads high,” a Syrian woman said.

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“I have no emotions. We have no house. No shelter, no nothing. We have become like the Palestinians. No home, no country… all the countries betrayed us and we had to evacuate. We will return, God willing, and we will rebuild everything ourselves… God willing all the youths will return under one flag,” an old man said.

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“We departed the city with our heads high. We never saw any Syrian military on the way here. They were all either Russians or Iranian militias… They ordered us to depart the bus, and we refused. God willing we will return,” another man from Aleppo said.

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The scenes of youths and children departing Aleppo break the heart of all freedom-lovers. They are forced to leave their homes with tears in their eyes, with their fate unknown, similar to the millions of other Syrians displaced across the globe…However, what is seen in each and every one of them, in their emotions, is their hope to return to their home country. They send this message in any possible way, even through their eyes.

“Our revolution will be victorious. We will return,” they say.

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“We may have departed Aleppo, but when we grow up we will return and free Aleppo. God willing we will return to free Aleppo. My sisters and I, all of us,” said a child from Aleppo.

“Wait till we grow up. We will return as youths and free our Aleppo,” said another child.

“A world war was imposed completely on a province called Aleppo,” said a Syrian man.

“God willing we will return, returning our dignity and human pride to Aleppo,” said a young man from Aleppo.

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Oh Aleppo, we shall return
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Dissident revealing prison brutality in Iran smuggled into Europe

shabnam-madadzadeh
Shabnam Madadzadeh was held for 6 years in some of Iran’s most infamous prisons. She had been sentenced to a five year prison term

Shabnam Madadzadeh was held for six years in some of Iran’s most infamous prisons

By  – November 26, 2016

An Iranian dissident who secretly disclosed the excesses of prison brutality in the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations, endangering her own life, has escaped to Europe. She is now living at an undisclosed location for her safety.

Shabnam Madadzadeh, 29, was held for six years, serving a five year prison service, in some of the most infamous prisons of Iran’s deeply politicised criminal justice system. Through letters she sent secretly from her cells, Madadzadeh drew attention to the often draconian conditions she and thousands of other women faced.

She called the on UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Iran to visit Raja’i Shahr and Gharchak prisons, where she was held. Madadzadeh’s plight as a prisoner of conscience was raised by international NGOs and the US State Department before she finally escaped to Europe.

Inside Raja’i Shahr and Gharchak prisons, Madadzadeh was, like other prisoners, forced to watch the execution of fellow captives, lived under the threat of death and sexual violence, and was tortured while in the custody of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards.

“In every moment, second by second you can feel death. The interrogators talk about execution every day and every day you think you are going to be executed,” Madadzadeh told IBTimes UKduring a telephone interview.

At Raja’i Shahr, Madadzadeh lived in a room she described as a “corridor”, where 200 women were crammed, with only two toilets and unsanitary drinking water. The lights in the room were never turned off, depriving the inmates of sleep between brutal interrogation sessions.

“When I was under interrogation I was physically tortured too. Five or six men surrounded me and as they were questioning me they beat me, pulled my hair and hit my body,” Madadzadeh said.

Her interrogators hoped Madadzadeh would renounce the People’s Mujahideen Organisation of Iran (PMOI), an opposition group in Iran outlawed by the Mullah’s regime and which advocates the overthrow of the Islamist regime.

She explained the worst punishment she could receive was to be sent to solitary confinement, but that it was the stories of sexual abuse in the prison which led her to realise she needed to speak out against her jailers.

“Inside there were girls who were raped by the guards. These girls and these women don’t have anyone to help them or to hear them and [the guards] easily raped many of them,” Madadzadeh said.

Arash Mohammadi
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“I can still see the face of a girl who told me she had been raped six times by a guard. It was horrible. My heart broke with her and when I was listening I would just cry because I was in prison and I could do nothing for them.

“I said to myself, you should be the voice of these women, because this the way to support these women and to fight the regime,” she added.

Men also face the threat of sexual violence in prison. Arash Mohammadi, 25, who also recently arrived in Europe like Madadzadeh described living “constant nightmare” in which he faced prolonged and vicious beatings and was threatened with rape.

The interrogations would last 12 hours, there was a rack that I was put up on and then I would be tortured with beatings and also shocked with electric shocks. There would be three interrogators. One would ask the questions and the other two would carry on beating.

“Sometimes I would pass out and they would splash water on me until I gained consciousness again and then they would resume,” Mohammadi explained.

Mohammadi was also told he had to denounce the PMOI and was subjected to eight days of 12-hour-long interrogations. For both Mohammadi and Madadzadeh the beatings served eventually to strengthen their resolve against the Iranian government.

“I believe all of these women were victims of the regime. Without any basic rights for any of the prisoners,” Madadzadeh said.

“Especially for women in Iran. They don’t have any rights and they are still without safety or people to help them,” she added.

Originally posted in International Business Times