A military operation against Islamists in Aleppo, once Syria’s second-largest city with booming industries and now the worst-hit place in the country, cornered the militants into a small 2.5-km sliver of land.
Exclusive footage taken by RT’s Ruptly video agency suggests that in eastern Aleppo, civilians were apparently subjected to torture and abuse.
Syrian Army soldiers showed the Ruptly crew cells and large chains that appear to be torture devices inside a building allegedly used as a firebase by militants in the Al-Jazmati district.
“This is one of the means of torture that was used by the militants. When we came here and liberated this residential block, civilians were sitting here in the prisons. We released them,” said Muhammad Hamud, a Syrian Army soldier, pointing at chains hanging from the ceiling.
He added that the army liberated around 15 captives in that location, afterwards showing black flags purportedly belonging to Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) and Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (formerly known as Al-Nusra Front).
A sizeable stockpile of mortar rounds as well as a large machine used to manufacture ammunition, are also seen in the building – a sign of the militants’ capacity to produce sophisticated weaponry right on the frontline.
The mortar shells and ammunition production technology may originate from IS-controlled territories in either Syria or Iraq.
On Wednesday, Conflict Armament Research (CAR), a UK-based investigative team, said IS factories in Iraq use standardization, quality control and an efficient supply chain to make thousands of mortars, shells and rockets.
Detailed technical standards mean that mortar shells produced in one part of IS-controlled territory have the same caliber and can be fired from mortar tubes made in facilities located elsewhere. Earlier, dozens of Aleppo residents, including children, lost their lives or were severely injured by mortar shells that came from the eastern part of the city.
Meanwhile in Aleppo, people are celebrating their liberation from Islamists, who first captured the city in 2012. On Tuesday, Aleppo streets erupted in celebrations with hundreds people waving flags and shooting in the air amid reports that the Syrian Army took control of the last militant-held areas in the east.
The Ruptly video, however, also showed civilian buildings badly damaged or reduced to rubble after militants used them as military outposts, meaning that post-conflict reconstruction of Aleppo will not be easy.