The attack of the mercenary groups on the neighborhood of Sheikh Maqsood were preceded by a politically stressful situation as the result of the Russian-Turkish conflict following the Russian Fighter Su-24 downing.
The circumstances that preceded the attack on Sheikh Maqsood on February 16, 2016. The Turkish state was very resentful towards the SDF's advance in Al Shahba canton. One day before the attack, Tel Rifa'at was liberated from Turkish-backed mercenary groups. The liberation of Tel Rifaat came on the anniversary of the international conspiracy against leader Abdullah Ocalan. This increased the Turkish tensions and Turkish officials were threatening the SDF.
Turkey's lack of options in Al Shahba canton due to disputes with Russia following the downing of a Russian fighter jet by the Turkish Air Force on November 24, 2015. Turkey was looking for avenging its defeated mercenaries in Al Shahba.
This is how the story of the attack on the strategically located Sheikh Maqsood neighborhood in Aleppo city began, a high-rise neighborhood overlooking the city from all sides and gaining military superiority over the force it controls.
Turkey began massing mercenaries in the vicinity of the neighborhood to start the offensive on February 16, 2016 amid the Syrian regime and international silence that always haunted any attack on northeastern Syria.
24 brigades attacking from three axis
On February 16, 2016, Sheikh Maqsood resisted one of the fiercest attacks from three axis; from Al Jandol roundabout and Bustan al-Basha neighborhood east of the neighborhood, Al-Shaqif area and Castillo Road to the north of the neighborhood, Bani Zaid, Al-Shabia and Ashrafieh, west of the neighborhood. The neighborhood was targeted with heavy weapons such as Hell cannons and missiles in a barbaric and indiscriminate manner.
Twenty-four battalions attacked the neighborhood, including the "Ahrar Al Sham, the Islamic Movement, Jaish al-Islam, The Levant Front, Sultan Murad Brigades, Sultan Murad Brigades, Brigades of Fa Istaqim Kama Amarata Brigades , Noureddine Zanki Movement, 13th Brigade, 16th Brigade, 1st Regiment, Abu Amara Brigades
The declaration of public alarm
Four days after targeting the neighborhood on February 20th, the Movement of the Democratic Society in Al Sheikh Maqsood announced the public alarm in the neighborhood.
The residents answered the call; they were organized in communes and councils and on the front lines. The internal security forces and community protection forces acted immediately to support the YPG.
Residents dig trenches and turned their homes into field hospitals. They have not only resisted attacks on military forces and internal security forces. they also organized themselves to form several committees. Each one with specific tasks.
Arab, Kurd and Turkmen residents supported their forces by digging trenches and equipping them, and many residents opened their homes to protect the wounded.
"All the victories are thanks to the sacrifices of our martyrs," Mohammed Sheikho, co-head of the General Council of Sheikh Maqsood and Ashrafieh said. "because of these sacrifices, we will have a democratic, pluralistic and decentralized Syria. All co-living components and groups will enjoy their rights in Syrian territory."
As the result of the Turkish occupation's mercenaries failure on the front lines, they cut off the water on the fronts, so the people rushed to secure the water by filling it in bottles and delivering it to the front in Al Sakan Al Shababi neighborhood adjacent to Sheikh Maqsood. Then the mercenaries cut off the water from the entire neighborhood, but the residents took the underground water as an alternative to them.
Because of the constant shelling of the neighborhood and targeting of the unarmed civilians by mercenaries, the wounded number has increased; there has been a shortage of hospital supplies. So that residents have taken the initiative to collect the hospital's needs from blankets and pillows.
A living example for the people resistance
The family of the citizen, Sabah Bakro, mother of the martyr, Sarbiland, one of the families that represents the spirit of resistance in Sheikh Maqsood; all her family members participated in the resistance; two of her sons and her husband joined the YPG and her daughter in the revolutionary youth movement in the fronts lines were in charge of the committee, which distributes people on the cellars of the neighborhood.
In this regard, Sabah said: "During the resistance, people were organizing themselves, we were one hand, the attacks on the neighborhood forced the families to join all their members to resist. By this spirit we were able to achieve victory in the YPG, we broke the mercenary attacks."
The militant Sarbiland also joined the martyrdom convoy. He was martyred in Al-Shahba canton after participating in the resistance of the Sheikh Maqsood neighborhood.
Women in the resistance of Sheikh Maqsood
They had a prominent role in that resistance. The battalion of the martyr, Gula Salamo, played its role in protecting the neighborhood and participating in front lines. It organized itself within the committees and institutions at that time to move according to the circumstances of the war by launching awareness campaigns for the people on how to protect themselves at wartime.
During the war, a large number of women in the neighborhood; about 60 women, volunteered to prepare food for fighters on the front lines, and the cellars in the neighborhood to protect residents from shelling, whose homes were destroyed. Women also helped the wounded. "
The attacks did not break our resistance, but we achieved our goals of holding up the neighborhood until its liberation thanks to the resistance of the people and our forces in the YPG," Khaleda Abdo said, the managing editor of the Women's Office of the Future Syria Party.
Khaled Fajr Hospital
The medical staff had a share in this resistance; they suffered a lot of difficulties to provide medical assistance to the people. Many of them lost their lives.
Despite lack of doctors in the clinic and medical supplies due to the suffocating siege on the neighborhood from all sides, the medical staff continued to work within the available potentials.
Chemical weapons selling
When the attacks on the neighborhood intensified, the neighborhood witnessed a lot of massacres, there were entire dead families and missing bodies under the rubble.
Sheikh Maqsood didn’t spare the chemical shelling it was shelled three times : on March 8, the International Women's Day, on April 7 and followed by shelling the following day, also on April 8. Dozens of civilians were suffocated and poisoned.
A dedicated medical staff at Khalid Fajr Hospital
It was the only medical point in the neighborhood and was subject to shelling several times by the mercenaries of the Turkish occupation. They mercenaries were firing rockets near the medical point.
Most of the residents took the initiative to work in the clinic to help the wounded and provide first aid , including the militant Khaled Fajr, member of the hospital. He worked to transport the wounded and went to the fronts of the fighting alongside the YPG. On April 2 he rose to the rank of martyrdom. The hospital is named after him.
The only surgeon in the neighborhood, the martyr, Rashid Jamian, a son of Deir ez-Zor governorate, was also martyred when he was called to perform surgery on one of the injured, a shell fell next to him and he was seriously injured and died.
Despite the mercenary siege of the neighborhood and the lack of medical supplies, no humanitarian agency has come forward to provide medical assistance.
"Thanks to the sacrifices of the martyrs and the resistance of the people, as we can see today, Khaled Fajr Hospital, all the medical departments are available," Dr. Walat Ma'amo, who was present in the resistance.
During the barbaric bombing, 196 civilians, including 59 children, 45 of the Kurdish component , 38 of the Arab component ,2 of the Turkmen component and 52 of the victims were unidentified. The Council of the Martyr Families announced the record of 139 martyrs.
The commando operation increased the pace of resistance.
"With the will of the people of the neighborhood and our martyrs, we have achieved victories and we were ready to sacrifice our lives in order to protect the neighborhood and the people. None of the foreign countries supported us," the Fighter Kawa Amed said.
Many fighters sacrificed their lives in order to protect the walls of the neighborhood, including the martyr, Rejour Amanous, who carried out a commando operation on 17 February on the Twenty Street between Sheikh Maqsood and Ashrafieh, refusing to be held captive by the mercenaries.
"We lost many of our close friends with whom we shared the details of our day, but we did not accept defeat, but we achieved the goals of our martyrs by protecting the neighborhood in high spirits," Amed said.
Fighter Kawa Amed vowed to follow in the footsteps of the martyrs and the thought of the leader Abdullah Ocalan, noting that the next victory will be in Afrin.