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English Teacher In Syria Waits To See If Cease-Fire Holds

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Now let's hear the way one Syrian is experiencing the Syrian cease-fire He lives in Aleppo, the big city still partly held by Syrian rebels. And when we reached him via Skype, he said the streets at last were quiet.

ABDEL KAFI ALHAMDO: Yesterday exactly was the first day I'd go out with my wife and my daughter to walk in the streets.

INSKEEP: Abdel Kafi Alhamdo says he teaches English at the University of Aleppo, has about 15 students.

ALHAMDO: People here are so brave. Some students were targeted and were injured on their way to the university because they lived a little bit away from the university. Nevertheless, they came.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Alhamdo says he lives in the rebel-held area of the city. Russian and Syrian warplanes frequently drop bombs on it. The siege has made it hard to buy food. The markets offer rice and canned goods and not much else.

ALHAMDO: We don't see the fruits for a long time. We don't see vegetables for a long time. Nothing in the markets - they are empty.

INSKEEP: Now, under the terms of this cease-fire, food and medicine, as Tom mentioned, are supposed to be delivered to the besieged parts of Aleppo. Alhamdo does not really expect the cease-fire to bring peace or to last, but does hope it lasts long enough for the food deliveries to arrive.

ALHAMDO: We don't trust a cease-fire because, you know, there were dozens of cease-fires before this, and none of them worked.

MONTAGNE: He also doesn't trust the world powers that arranged this cease-fire.

ALHAMDO: I will tell you, frankly speaking, the international society is trying to calm their peoples who are wondering why their government didn't make a movement and to calm Syrians who are inside.

INSKEEP: That cynicism does not mean either side is giving up. Syria's President Bashar al-Assad said this week he still plans to recapture every part of the country. And Abdel Kafi Alhamdo, that teacher in Aleppo, is still determined to see rebels win.

ALHAMDO: We will be here until he's removed or we die. That's it, OK? Freedom - I want to be a free man. This is my right.

MONTAGNE: And that's what he's seeking in Aleppo. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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