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US journalist in Aleppo ran for his life as bombs fell after MEE interview

Bilal Abdul Kareem describes how building in which he had taken refuge was 'lit up by artillery fire' shortly after he had spoken to Middle East Eye
Bilal Abdul Kareem said skies were clear and birds were chirping in eastern Aleppo on Thursday (Twitter)

Bilal Abdul Kareem, a US journalist who has been trapped in eastern Aleppo for the past four months, has described how he was forced to run for his life shortly after recording an interview with Middle East Eye on Wednesday.

“Right after I finished talking to you guys they just lit our place up with artillery fire,” said Kareem.

“It got so bad that we thought they were going to bring the building down. That’s how many hits it took. So we ran to another location and as we were running munitions were going off around us. It was really an intense experience.”

Kareem said the situation was “looking better” on Thursday as buses carrying injured civilians departed from the besieged area for rebel-held Idlib province as a ceasefire appeared to be holding.

In a video posted on Twitter, he said: "The skies are clear, the birds are chirping and people are leaving besieged Aleppo and I hope I will be doing the same thing."

But he added: "Nothing is said and done until it is said and done."

Explosions could be heard in the background as Kareem spoke to MEE on Wednesday.
In that interview Kareem said he was looking forward to "sleeping in my own bed and a plate of hot food" if he is able to get out of Aleppo.

Russian soldiers reportedly led a convoy of 1,000 civilians and rebels out of eastern Aleppo towards rebel-held Idlib on Thursday, as a Russian and Turkish deal to end fighting in the Syrian city appeared to be holding.

Members of the Red Cross and Red Crescent were assisting the evacuation, while the World Health Organisation said there had been no checks on the identities of anyone leaving, "as far as we can see".