Reports | 7 09 2016
The sniper is considered to be one of the main killing tools in the ongoing war in Syria, where they have caused the death and injury of hundreds of innocent civilians over the past five years. Some of them were on the street or in transportation or even in their homes. Snipers deployed in various places: such as the areas where clashes take place between factions, on high buildings, on the roads that separate between the opposition strongholds and the regime strongholds, and in the vicinity of the besieged areas. Housing and moving in places monitoring by snipers became a reality imposed on Syrians, who can’t find alternative places or ways to pass through, and that made them try to predict the way the sniper thinks usually, hoping to avoid his danger.
In some cases, the purpose of the sniper is to spread fear in the hearts of passers-by, or in the area. Many of them choose their victim randomly. Usually, the local residents nickname the sniper on behalf of the building that the sniper stations in, to help others to avoid him. Perhaps the most famous sniper in Aleppo is the Municipal Palace Sniper, the castle sniper, and the hospital sniper in Homs.
Ahmed, who lived in a neighborhood observed by the sniper in Aleppo, said: "subconsciously I put myself in the sniper’s place and think how would he choose his victim, and then I think about how to avoid being the victim."
Depending on the specificity of the region and the local sniper actions, Syrians invented their own ways that they believe it can reduce the chances of being the chosen by the sniper! And some of which turned into something like a protocol followed by everyone in the region, as they used many means to block the sniper view.
Wearing faded colors
Many believe that the colors they wear have an impact on the probability of choosing them. Hiba believes that the one who is going to pass the sniper area has to avoid wearing a red coat, for example, and she thinks that putting on gray and brown coat will not raise the sniper appetite to shoot the passer-by among dozens of people.
She says, "I have never lived in neighborhoods that are vulnerable to the sniper, but two years ago I had to go to the Justice Palace in Aleppo to sign some necessary papers, and that requests passing from a street that is vulnerable to a sniper. I wore faded colors, and avoided bright colors according to my friends’ suggest , I do not know if that was effective but I survived."
Running in Zik Zak style
Jogging is the first instinct way that comes to the mind of any person to escape from the sniper danger, this is experienced by dozens of Syrians every day in different regions. Mahmood, who lives in Aleppo, says, "they are only a few moments, but you feel they are long minutes, wishing to get to the other side in peace. In a few seconds, you remember many things as if the whole of your life becomes in front of you."
According to Mahmoud, running of the sniper has its own way: "You have to be fast and, Zik Zak - winding - to reduce the likelihood of being targeted, preferably to curve your back toward the front and run, so you can shrink the available piece of your body that is covered by the eye sniper." He also pointed out that running from the sniper in specific cases is more dangerous than walking, because when someone runs in a place where people are normally walking, the sniper might consider that a challenge and a target. He explains: “If you see people walking, walk with them, and if they were running, run with them. And to grab the attention of passers-by to the need to run in specific places, some banners were put there to indicate the presence of the sniper around, including the words: "run, the sniper is around". This was written on one of the walls of old neighborhoods of Homs.
Sticking to the wall and take corners as a cover
A lot of residents of neighborhoods that are exposed to the sniper, used to walk along the walls and hunker down in the corners. Adnan, who lives in the city of Deir Al-Zor says: "All injury cases by the sniper, were injured in the middle of the street because it is open to the sniper.
Use puppets as a camouflage
Many Syrians used this method as a checkout for any sniper around. The fighters used to determine the location of the sniper on the counterparty. Abbas from Homs explains: "When the sniper is far away, he is not able to distinguish easily the human from the doll, and he would shoot quickly, this method can detect the presence and location of a sniper before passing a certain street."
Cloth curtains to block the streets
The residents of the snipers’ neighborhoods are living under fear of sniper bullets, so they raised curtains in the middle of the street to block the vision of the sniper on their streets. Despite the fact that the curtains do not protect from bullets but it is difficult to identify the target. And many local councils in some areas implemented this project of raising curtains in the face of snipers deployed in the regime strongholds.
Converting buses to solid shields
The large hard solid shields are considered to be the most effective method followed by people to block out the vision for the sniper and repel his bullets. Where they used anything available to them, like buses, old cars, and berms, and these barriers need a great collective efforts and mechanisms. In many cases, Syrians used " Trucks" to lift the berms and secure some roads.
Hire workers on the line of sniper
"Misfortunes of some people are benefits for others" This saying applies to the number of Syrians who have decided to work on the sniper targeting line to transport needs of people by their wagons, and risking their lives in the line instead of others, for money.
Sara who lives in Aleppo told us: "In 2013, Aleppo was besieged and no food can be entered to it, I went down to the market then, and found an old salesman sells vegetables, the price of a kilo is three times the normal price, and when I asked him why, he told me: "I paid my blood to get these vegetables to here". she added: "The next day I got to the crossing, there were dozens of workers who were dragging their vehicles and transporting anything in front of the sniper. Many of them were children, helping those who want to run and can’t carry their purposes which would slow their movement. Also there are many workers holding elderlies who can’t run."
Windows immunization with barricade
In the neighborhood (Waer) in Homs, the residents resorted recently to develop what looks like hidden barricades behind their closed windows in their houses to protect themselves from the sniper bullets that killed dozens of residents of the neighborhood. Were people were targeted while they are inside their homes through the opened windows. Radwan from Homs confirmed that saying: "Sniper reveals more than 70% of the neighborhood buildings and does not care who is the victim, a woman, a man, or a baby. So people raised sandbags and stones behind these windows after closing, to protect themselves in their homes, while others left some rooms empty and exposed to the sniper."
Ride blinded buses
Passengers can’t enjoy the long hours traveling between provinces in Syria, by looking through the bus windows at nature, as the carriers fall curtains fully on the roads. Jana, who is moving always between Aleppo and Hama: "the driver knows the dangerous areas, but he keeps the curtains drawn most often, so the Sniper can’t target people's heads. In most dangerous streets, the driver asks us to bend or go down and he walks too fast until we pass the dangerous zone."
Crawl and do not pay attention to the injured on the road
Syrians put this rule in their minds when the sniper shoots anyone walks alongside them. Akram, who was working as paramedics in a medical point in Aleppo, says: "We were advised to crawl because it is the best way for protecting ourselves in case the sniper began throwing bullets. If anyone began to drag the injured person, he will be also targeted by the sniper, and often they pull the injured to a safe place using a rope ".
* The article published for the first time on Raseef 22, and re-published by Rozana.