As warplanes continue to pummel their city, residents of Aleppo, Syria, are burning tires to hinder the attacks with a screen of thick black smoke.
Seizing full control of Aleppo would mark a significant victory for the Syrian government in its raging five-year civil war with rebel militias. But as President Bashar Assad’s army drops barrel bombs to surround rebel-held areas in the city’s east end, hundreds of thousands of civilians are trapped in a war zone with no access to foreign aid.
Just last week, Syria and its ally, Russia, reportedly carried out air raids that killed at least 42 people and injured dozens more in Aleppo’s al Atareb district. The deadly attacks also damaged medical facilities.
As more people die and the hope for external humanitarian support dims, Aleppo’s residents have launched their own defense against the airstrikes. Even children are helping set piles of tires on fire, sending clouds of dark smoke into the sky to obstruct the planes.yrian journalist Rami Jarrah shared a video on Facebook of an activist in the city’s Salahiddeen district asking environmentalists to forgive Aleppo’s besieged citizens for creating the smoke. The sobering clip, filmed on Monday, has been viewed nearly 50,000 times in just a day.
“We’re sorry [for harming the environment], but we are burning these tires in Aleppo to stop the crimes of the Russians and the Assad regime,” the man said. “We’re very sorry, please forgive us.”
On social media, people are using the hashtag #AngerForAleppo to express frustration and solidarity with the people affected by the airstrikes.
Diplomatic efforts to end the siege have failed, but the United Nations said it intends to reconvene Syrian peace talks later this month.