As reports emerged of Syrian rebels in Aleppo turning tank fire on a government airbase, El Pais journalist Alvaro de Cozar spoke to euronews from near to the Menagh base.
euronews: “Can you confirm reports that rebels are using tanks to fire on the airbase?”
Alvaro de Cozar: “The rebels are beginning to use tanks that they have seized from Assad’s troops, but we don’t know how skillful they are because they don’t have people sufficiently trained to operate them. The other day I spoke to a tank driver and he told me that it has been five years since he had driven a tank and that he’d only learned how as part of his military service.”
euronews: “The rebels say they control 50 per cent of Aleppo, is this really the case?”
Alvaro de Cozar: “The rebels are saying about 50 to 60 per cent. The problem is that they don’t control the important areas, that is the centre itself, and official buildings. They control the outskirts. They are finding it difficult to access the old town because it is on a hill.”
euronews: “Thousands are said to have fled but for those who remain, could you describe how the civilian population are dealing with the onslaught?”
Alvaro de Cozar: “Life for Aleppo’s residents, those who have not abandoned the city, they are just trying to get on with things. We’re seeing some people beginning to open their shops especially in rebel-held areas. Buildings have been destroyed. It’s strange to see children collecting rubble. The worst part is that these children are being severely punished by Assad’s troops in the zones where civilians are living.”