Hero to Syria's stray cats

Hero to Syria's stray cats
Mr Alaa with the cats he has been feeding.

When he is not treating casualties of the Syrian civil war, he takes time out to look after the lesser-known victims of the conflict.

Indeed, ambulance driver Alaa has started a one-man charitable enterprise by feeding scores of cats affected by the war.

To this end, he spends about US$4 (S$5) of his savings each day on meat for the 150 strays in Masaken Hanano, a neighbourhood in the city of Aleppo.

The district has been almost entirely abandoned because of shelling from forces loyal to Syrian president Bashar Al-Assad as they attempt to wrest back control of the area from rebels, the Mail Online reported.

Mr Alaa says he has been feeding and taking care of the cats for over two months.

Felines are seen waiting for him as mealtime approaches. And as soon as he arrives with the food, the animals surround him.

In a street where people are a rare sight, Mr Alaa evinces a touch of humanity by holding some of the cats close to him and gently stroking their heads.

Aleppo, Syria's largest city, has been at the centre of some of the fiercest fighting since a major rebel offensive in July 2012.

It is believed that at least half of its population has been displaced as a result of the three-year conflict.

The city is also being encircled by militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) who have captured swathes of territory in Syria and Iraq in their bid to create a caliphate across the two countries.

This means Aleppo could see a spike in violence should ISIS fighters make their way into the city.

This article was first published on Sep 28, 2014.
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