By Eva Bartlett
Back today from a few days in Aleppo (leaving this morning). My second trip varied from the first one month ago. Then, northern Aleppo areas of Mallah farms, Castello road, Bani Zeid, Lairamoun Industrial area were occupied by NATO’s terrorists. Now, they are liberated.

Then, the only route in was via the Ramouseh road, already dangerous for the 500 metres or so of exposure to foreign-backed terrorist snipers. Now, that road is closed for the protection of civilians from terrorist sniping and shelling.

This time, the road into Aleppo was the military-mainly SAA-liberated Castello road via Aleppo’s newly-liberated Bani Zaid district. The Castello road, mostly a dirt path sometimes several cars wide, sometimes narrow, still has some risk. While entering on Sunday, at one point a soldier at a checkpoint halted the car and instructed to wait until the vehicle ahead of us was a bit further on, to keep a distance between vehicles–in case one is targeted, it lessens the risk of damage to other vehicles. When leaving this morning a soldier urged the driver to floor it: mortars are falling.

In early July in Aleppo, terrorists’ missiles, mortars and explosive bullets fell on the city of over 1.5 million. This time too (all the time actually), although the areas liberated from terrorists are no longer sources of hell-canon fired explosive gas canisters, missiles, rockets and mortars.

The destruction in Bani Zaid and Lairamoun industrial area was vast, with terrorists holed up in the district since late 2012, firing their rockets/missiles/mortars/gas canisters/explosive bullets on Aleppo civilians from these and other areas they still infest. While the cleanup and rebuilding will be a long process, these liberated districts are at least no longer a source of terrorism.

Throughout the neighbours, evidence of terrorists bunkering in behind over-turned buses and other vehicles, and behind walls of barrels.

En route to/from Aleppo (the same northern road I took to Nubl/Zahra’a in July) terrorists’ spent gas canister bombs littered the countryside, on farmland and near homes. It is these improvised bombs (as well as foreign-supplied missiles, rockets, explosive bullets, mortars) which have been killing Syrians in Aleppo and elsewhere in Syria.

The liberation of Aleppo neighbourhoods by the Syrian Arab Army and allies unsurprisingly got pretty much no recognition in corporate media. Nor does the terrorism perpetrated by western-backed terrorists. But visiting the areas, meeting some of the liberators and protectors (including the Syrian civil defense**actual defense and rescuers, not a western creation/figment of the imagination as with the so-called “White Helmets” terrorists)–and knowing that life can return to these areas as it has in other liberated Syrian towns and cities–was profoundly moving. It was an honour to be there.

*An article I wrote based on interviews with doctors in Aleppo in July 2016:Article