00:30 GMT +316 October 2019
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    Members of al Qaeda's Nusra Front gesture as they drive in a convoy touring villages, which they said they have seized control of from Syrian rebel factions, in the southern countryside of Idlib, December 2, 2014

    Rescued Syrians Recall Horror of Living in Villages Besieged by Al-Nusra

    © REUTERS / Khalil Ashawi
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    Al-Nusra Front fighters used everything in their arsenal, including mortars, missiles, shells and bullets, to take Shiite villages in northern Syria under their control, rescued Syrians told RT.

    They are part of approximately 300 families, who were evacuated from villages besieged by al-Nusra under a UN-brokered temporary ceasefire. The Shiites were then taken to Damascus, where they recalled the horror of what it was like to live under siege.

    "I was playing on a roof and the shell fell near me. A bit of shrapnel hit my head," an injured girl told RT's Murad Gazdiev. "Two of our brothers were killed in shellfire. We spent so much time in basements that they shut the school. And if you tried to leave the village, al-Nusra would shoot you," her brother added.

    In Damascus, these children were finally reunited with their father after being kept apart from each other for ten months. "We finally got out. I was so happy to see my dad," their brother said.

    Not every family was so fortunate.

    A woman recalled the day she learned that her son was killed. "It was the day before Mother's Day. My son and husband were out at our shop. I got a call saying my son was dead, torn apart. They said it was a Hell Cannon rocket," she narrated.

    Her husband chose not to go to Damascus with his family, but instead stayed behind to defend their home.

    Islamic fighters from the al-Qaida group in the Levant, Al-Nusra Front, wave their movement's flag as they parade at the Yarmuk Palestinian refugee camp, south of Damascus, to denounce Israel’s military offensive on the Gaza Strip, on July 28, 2014
    © AFP 2019 / RAMI AL-SAYED
    Islamic fighters from the al-Qaida group in the Levant, Al-Nusra Front, wave their movement's flag as they parade at the Yarmuk Palestinian refugee camp, south of Damascus, to denounce Israel’s military offensive on the Gaza Strip, on July 28, 2014

    "Al-Nusra Front and their Army of Conquest have many villages surrounded. They hate us just because we are of a different faith," she added. "Thank you to whoever organized this, but I feel sorry because so many stayed behind," her daughter said. "I hope my friends managed to leave to."

    The family survived by living off the land. They had no bread or flour and cooked what they could find growing in the neighborhood.

    Some are confident that Syria will push out foreign fighters and the deadly conflict will end. 

    "We will win because our cause is just. We are fighting foreigners, Afghans, Turks, Chechens. It used to be that no one was judged by your religion in Syria," a rescued Syrian said.

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    Tags:
    Islamist militants, Islamic extremism, radical Islam, Syrian conflict, Shiites, Al-Nusra Front, Syria
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