The Syrian city of Aleppo is one of the most dangerous places to be living in right now. And, while many of its residents have left their homes to escape the war, one man has remained behind to care for the city’s hundreds of abandoned and stray cats. Mohammad Alaa Aljaleel, “The Cat Man of Aleppo,” started a sanctuary known as Il Gattaro d’Aleppo in the war-torn city. Renewed airstrikes this week struck a children’s hospital, a blood bank, and the internationally celebrated cat sanctuary.
Excuse us today we can not show you the cats,because ……
ladies and gentlemen, this is our home of Ernesto cats today. pic.twitter.com/XiaVzAOH6x
— Il Gattaro D’ Aleppo (@gattarodialeppo) November 16, 2016
Aljaleel, an electrician and ambulance driver who runs the sanctuary is alive, said Alessandra Abidin, an Italian woman who helps him run a Facebook group to communicate with his supporters. On Wednesday, Abidin announced on social media that bombs had hit the sanctuary and killed multiple cats and a dog (warning: graphic images). Bombs also struck Aljaleel’s house, killing two more cats. It’s not known yet what will become of the sanctuary, but Aljaleel has said he will care for these cats, “no matter what.” A recent video posted to Twitter shows many cats still alive and uninjured:
House of cats Ernesto in Aleppo today .. pic.twitter.com/oR4M9QM3lH
— Il Gattaro D’ Aleppo (@gattarodialeppo) November 17, 2016