Anas al-Basha, aka the Clown of Aleppo, has died. The 24-year-old was a center director at Space for Hope, a local initiative meant to provide civil services to war-torn Syria. It is believed he died in an airstrike orchestrated by Russia or the Syrian government, according to the Telegraph.
The last clown in Aleppo – a social worker who comforted children whose lives had been traumatised by war – has been killed pic.twitter.com/IjiaG1ObXH
— Channel 4 News (@Channel4News) December 1, 2016
From the Telegraph:
In a now largely bombed-out enclave, Space for Hope supports 12 schools and four psycho-social support centers in eastern Aleppo, providing counseling and financial support for 365 children who have lost one or both parents. Many of the staff of 34 learned social work on the job as the country’s five-year civil war unfolded.
The young man’s parents left the city before the government sealed its siege of the rebel-held eastern districts but he stayed to help the community. He had his salary sent to his parents. His wife of two months is still trapped in the city.
His supervisor, Samar Hijazi, explained that he dressed as a clown so he could act out skits that would help kids break down their walls. (The kids of war-torn Aleppo have gotten attention in recent months because their images are so striking.)
“All of us in this field (of childcare) are exhausted, and we have to find strength to provide psychological support and continue with our work,” she said.
He is being mourned online and throughout Aleppo.
My brother Anas Al Basha who was the reason why besieged children smiled… killed today in Aleppo due to the Russian-Assad shelling. pic.twitter.com/QPLGIoaWX7
— Mahmoud Al Basha (@mahmoud_basha8) November 30, 2016
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