Tuesday 15 February 2022

Animal advocates must never forget Mohammad Alaa Aljaleel the "Cat Man of Aleppo"

I just want to touch base again with this story. It has been around for a while. Mohammad Alaa Aljaleel first came to prominence on the Internet during the Syrian war. That has abated and fizzled out as far as I'm aware but there is still a great need to support the stray and feral cats of Aleppo which is exactly what Mohammad Alaa Aljaleel continues to do.

Mohammad Alaa Aljaleel the "Cat Man of Aleppo"
Mohammad Alaa Aljaleel the "Cat Man of Aleppo". Image: screenshot from FB video.

He has a Facebook page and, on that page, we see him educating the children of that city. There is no direct commentary to a video. There is background music instead. But we see him involving the children in cat rescue and feeding the stray cats. He also hands out what appears to be dry cat food for the cats.

Feeding the stray cats of Aleppo, Syria
Feeding the stray cats of Aleppo, Syria. Screenshot from FB video.

I can't embed the video on this page because his Facebook's settings don't allow. I have asked him to have a look at that in order to help promote his work.

What is particularly nice about the video which you can see by clicking on this link, is that he is thinking of the future. He is trying to get the kids interested in the cats and in animal welfare generally. He needs their involvement. They are the future of animal welfare.

There are 2 links to earlier stories about Alaa, the Cat Man of Aleppo. Please read them for background information on this man and his work.

RELATED: Syria Cat Rescue (Aleppo).

It seems to me that all he can do is to feed them and comfort them. I don't think he has access to veterinary care. Although he might have to a limited extent. Clearly the cats need veterinary care. They also need to be processed under typical TNR program policies. I don't know whether he has access to facilities to spay and neuter the cats in his care. I would doubt that too. But I hope that I am wrong.

RELATED: Assad or the Russians bombed a famous cat sanctuary in Aleppo.

At least they have him to care for them as best he can. People in the West, the comfortable developed world, need to praise and reward people like Mohammad Alaa Aljaleel. He is a rare person. He is a hero because he is doing something which is very difficult to do in such a dire situation. His work is highly altruistic. He has to look after himself and perhaps a family as well but he gives of his time to stray cats.

In the eyes of many stray and feral cats are pest and vermin. They are the lowest of the low next to stray dogs. In many undeveloped countries they are persecuted and callously killed. He is doing the opposite. He is preserving life and trying to make their lives more acceptable and tolerable. This is the true sharp end of animal welfare.

Years ago, I learned that he is an ambulance driver. He originally operated out of an area called Masaken Hanano in Aleppo. He may still be there. When he first started working on cat rescue or conservation in Aleppo the area was being bombed and destroyed by President Assad's bombs and Russian rockets. At that time, he was taking a huge risk to simply be out there on the streets feeding the cats, it seems to me. This was in 2016. Aleppo was being destroyed. You can imagine how many cats were destroyed as well as people by those bombs and rockets.

The purpose of this post is to praise the man. To reward him with a little bit of publicity. It's not much. I just feel that I need to do my bit, to chip in, to support a man who deserves support and praise.

1 comment:

  1. PRESS RELEASE / February 13, 2023

    Earthquake in Syria and Türkiye:
    The “Cat Man of Aleppo” and his team
    on the front line in northwest Syria helping victims

    In the first hours following the initial earthquake that struck Syria and Türkiye on February
    6, Mohammed Alaa Al’Jaleel also known as the “Cat Man of Aleppo” didn’t wait for
    emergency or humanitarian aid to reach Northwest Syria. With his sanctuary team, they
    went on the front line in the nearby, affected areas, searching and saving lives, removing
    rubble, and doing what they could with what they had available. Alaa has years of
    experience as an ambulance driver and as a hands-on rescuer in Aleppo, Syria.

    The dangers in searching the rubble of destroyed buildings is not new to him; the only
    major difference in searching bombed buildings due to warfare in Aleppo, and searching
    buildings destroyed by this earthquake is now he thinks about aftershocks, rather than
    unexploded ordinance and artillery or missile fire. Since the current devastating seismic
    event, they have traveled many kilometers, reaching as many villages as possible. They
    have, thanks to the support of staff members from his local animal sanctuary group, family,
    and friends, been able to deliver food, water, necessity products and more to both victims
    and to rescuers.

    They are constantly assisting with rescue missions, both of humans and animals, and are
    fortunate to have a used ambulance from the animal sanctuary to assist in everything from
    transport of people, transport of injured, or lost animals, and transport of needed food and
    water to those most in need.

    Mohammed Alaa Al’Jaleel was at one time an ambulance driver and a rescue worker
    during the siege of Aleppo. While displaced by the war he started to locate and care for
    pets abandoned by fleeing owners and also rescue animals injured during the bombings.
    He set up a shelter and sanctuary that was subsequently bombed several times. For this
    and other reasons, he had to relocate and rebuild his animal sanctuary in a safer area
    near the Turkish border in a safer zone where Alaa and his dedicated team are currently
    taking care of a growing number of cats and dogs.

    The sanctuary also operates a small clinic to treat injured animals. The sanctuary
    welcomes regular visits from orphans, children displaced, and refugees, to whom they
    teach proper care of animals, especially cats, thus applying a form of pet therapy for the
    vulnerable children suffering from trauma due to the situation in the region.

    Alaa’s original sanctuary that he founded, as the Cat Man of Aleppo, was called Ernesto’s,
    named after the first of his rescues and was in Aleppo. He ran his sanctuary for several
    years and a school for war orphans, until relocating in Free Syria on the Turkish Border.
    So Alaa started over in a safer place for his sanctuary, family and staff.
    The work of the sanctuary is funded entirely and solely by voluntary contributions by
    members from all corners of the world. All donations go directly to support the sanctuary,
    its functions and the animals who enjoy the safety there. Over the years, Mohammed Alaa
    Al’Jaleel, and his work at the sanctuary has inspired films, books and received
    international acclaim and attention from the media.

    After helping communities cope with war, Mohammed Alaa Al’Jaleel along with his team
    and supporters are now trying to help those dealing with this devastating earthquake, and
    all the while continuing to run the sanctuary, feeding and caring for the animals.
    If you want to know more about the work done by Alaa’s sanctuary in general or in the
    current humanitarian crisis in Syria or if you want to know how you can help support the
    sanctuary, you may contact:


    - 30 -


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