“A group of armed men broke into our house and arrested my husband. There was no formal or informal charges, they just said, ‘Woman, we need your husband.’ He worked in the local municipality and the terrorists wanted to get inside information from him,” she said.
“He was arrested and after two days we were called to the square where right in front of our eyes he was shot,” Um said recalling the terrible ordeal.
Later on, some people helped Um and her children escape the quarter unharmed. “We left our home with empty hands. The kind people over here gave us this ruined house and a few blankets,” she told Sputnik Arabic.
Talking about the rules that the militants introduced in the city, Um said that they started a monopoly on food as they went robbing people's homes.
She further said that children were forbidden from going to school as the militants saw no sense in that and the program in public schools was contrary to their [militants] beliefs.
“Terrorism deprived my children of their father. The eldest son of Um who is not yet 13, worked as a tailor in the Sulaiman neighborhood in order to earn something to help the starving family,” the woman said.
Nowadays, Um is trying to provide love and affection for her children which they were deprived of by the war. “They are in no way at fault but they had to live during a terrible time.”
At the present, the woman stands on the terrace of her home surrounded by ruins and rubble. She said that in this district there are a few families that live in the quarter and everybody is trying to take in friends or relatives who have become refugees.
“When we go to bed, there is no free space on the floor. Everyone shares everything and helps each other out. It is difficult. There is no water, no electricity and there is a lack of basic necessities,” she said.
Um further added that in the winter it is cold inside her house and in the summer it is equally hot. “However, here we have found salvation from death. We hope that the war will end and life will improve,” the woman said.
Aleppo was partially controlled by Damascus-led forces and rebels for the larger part of the nearly six-years-long war that has devastated Syria. The Syrian Arab Army freed the majority of districts controlled by the militants on December 13. Three days later, the Russian Ministry of Defense announced that the city was under full government control.