Shortly after Syrian city of Aleppo fell to bombing, a number of people ran away from bullets and bombs. But a man called Mohammad Alaa Aljaleel stayed back, saving and tending to orphaned children and well, abandoned cats! Alaa who had to leave during the 2016 destruction, is now back to home, doing what he does best–saving cats.
Alaa has now come home to Ernesto’s Sanctuary for cats, named after his own dead cat. As the media saw the electrician who turned ambulance driver to care for humans and animals, they crowdfunded the sanctuary which now houses 200 cats, with gardens and plants.
The Bombed Ambulance
Needless to say, Alaa and the sanctuary had its share of dark times. His own ambulance was bombed five times, and was replaced each time. The worst day was when phosphorus bombs killed more than a 100 cats, just when Alaa kept driving them to Aleppo’s outskirts.
“Shortly before the evacuation of Aleppo, the sanctuary was bombed and lots of our cats were hit by shrapnel and killed. Our lovely dog Hope was also killed in the bombing,” the sanctuary tells their story. A bigger sanctuary has been established at Kalf Naga in the west of Aleppo. It is animal paradise with four monkeys, a horse, dogs, rabbits and doves, along with a full-time vet.
Alaa has since become a driving force for rehabilitation in the war-torn country. He believes that children and animals are the biggest victims of war. He now campaigns for funds and helps setup schools for the communities that need aid. “Every one of us goes through difficult and beautiful times. There are people who either needs the help of a friend, or is a help for a friend. Life is based on the humanity in which the members of a society cooperate among themselves,” Alaa sums up his activities, on a Facebook post.
We are a bunch of hardcore news junkies who also happen to be pet parents. Our world revolves around our kids and that’s how we know!