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'Aleppo Residents Heaved a Sigh of Relief After the City Was Liberated'

© Sputnik / Ali HassanAleppo
Aleppo - Sputnik International
While Western media sources continue to circulate reports of alleged "atrocities" committed by the Syrian Arab Army in Aleppo, the facts on the ground proved the opposite. "There is no such thing as 'carnage' or 'mass murder' of civilians in Aleppo," Turkish journalist Hediye Levent told Sputnik.

Western media sources have raised the alarm over alleged "atrocities" in Aleppo committed by the Syrian Arab Army (SAA); the liberation of Aleppo by the Syrian government forces from Islamic extremists is presented as the "fall" of the city.

Speaking to Sputnik Turkey, Hediye Levent, the Turkish journalist who is currently working in Damascus, stressed that there is no mass murder of civilians in Aleppo.

"Civilian casualties are an unavoidable part of any civil war, without exception. But the speculation about a 'mass murder' of civilians is inapplicable to the situation in Aleppo," Levent highlighted.

"There are people in Aleppo who support armed groups, including jihadists, but for them the evacuation plan is being developed and the corridors [to flee] the city are being established," she specified.

Still, it is obvious that the majority of Aleppo residents have heaved a sigh of relief after the city was liberated from extremists, Levent underscored.

"Judging from the footage from Aleppo and the stories told by my friends and acquaintances on the ground in the city, the residents feel great relief because of the liberation. Previously the city was divided into two parts, and attacks and clashes occurred regularly there. In a word, there is no such thing as 'carnage' or 'mass murder' of civilians [carried out by the SAA] in Aleppo," the Turkish journalist emphasized.

Syrian residents fleeing the violence, queue as they board a bus at a checkpoint, manned by pro-government forces, in the village of Aziza on the southwestern outskirts of the northern Syrian city of Aleppo on December 9, 2016 - Sputnik International
Aleppo Residents 'No More Afraid of Being Killed' After Liberation of the City
According to Levent there is yet another fact largely misinterpreted by Western media: contrary to the common belief, the majority of the SAA personnel taking part in the liberation of Aleppo are Sunnis. Furthermore, the journalist added, the Syrian government forces are dominated by the Sunnis.

"In this context the speculation about 'Syrian government forces killing Sunnis because of their religious affiliation' is absolutely illogical and groundless," the Turkish journalist highlighted.

She pointed out that media often present the ongoing war in Syria as a result of the religious split between the Shiites and the Sunnis in the country. However, there is no split within the Syrian Arab Army, Levent noted.

"There is no split within the Syrian [Arab] Army. If this [division] really existed, the current leadership of the country would have been unable to preserve its power for so long," the Turkish journalist said.

Pierre Le Corf, the head of We Are Superheroes humanitarian organization, currently working in Aleppo, echoes Levent.

In his interview with Sputnik France, Le Corf emphasized that he had not heard from anyone in Aleppo about the so-called "atrocities" allegedly committed by the SAA soldiers.

"I've read the reports that have been written on this subject (…) However, I've never heard somebody talking about it while I have been working here. I've heard about it in the media," Le Corf said referring to Western media reports.

"I would like to say that the people who live here [in the west of Aleppo] are happy. They are happy because they got tired of being afraid of being killed when they leave their homes or that their children will die on their way to school. Likewise, people who came here from the other side, they are happy to come here, because they know that there are no bombs here falling from the sky. The situation is quite dynamic, there is some confusion, but people who come here, feel free," Le Corf stressed.

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov pointed out that humanitarian organizations on the ground in Aleppo do not confirm media claims of "atrocities" or "carnage" in the city committed by the SAA.

"By the way I know first-hand assessments of independent humanitarian organizations, which still have their representatives east of Aleppo. None of them confirm reports about committed atrocities, kidnapping of people, who are escaping from eastern Aleppo," Lavrov underscored.

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