After the bombing, he went to Idlib, the last refuge for rebels fighting against President Bashar al-Assad’s regime. Alaa al-Jaleel took the surviving animals with him and reopened the sanctuary in a new space.
The Ernesto Sanctuary now provides shelter and food to over a thousand animals. The name Ernesto appears as a tribute to the cat of the co-founder, the Italian Alessandra Abidin, who allied with Alaa al-Jaleel in the move from Aleppo to Idlib, after having seen in the newspapers the story of the “man of the cats” and having decided to help it. Alessandra also created the Facebook page of the Sanctuary, which quickly became popular and has more than 120 thousand followers.
“Most animals are injured because of the war and because their owners had to abandon them when they left their homes. We gave them shelter, medical care and food, ”says Mohamad Wattar, the current head of the shelter, quoted by Reuters.
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