Man Risks His Life To Save Cats In War-Torn Syria

When the "Cat Man of Aleppo," Mohammad Alaa Aljaleel, is not saving people, he is saving cats.

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Mohammad Alaa Aljaleel has been saving cats in war torn Aleppo, Syria.
John Virata

Civil war has been raging in Syria for more than 5 years, and hundreds of thousands of people have fled the country, leaving behind their homes, their possessions and their pets.

Pets face similar dangers as people do in war zones. But in the Syrian city of Aleppo, a man has been caring for and saving hundreds of cats, both strays and those abandoned by their families as they flee to safer countries.

Mohammad Alaa Aljaleel, an ambulance driver, started saving and caring for cats in 2014, according to The Dodo.

Mohammad Alaa Aljaleel with one of the many cats he has saved. Via Nobel Peace Prize to Alaa/Facebook

Mohammad Alaa Aljaleel with one of the many cats he has saved. Via Nobel Peace Prize to Alaa/Facebook

“When people left, the cats started coming to me,” Aljaleel told the BBC in an interview. “Some people just left them with me knowing that I love cats.”

For one little girl whose family fled to Turkey, Aljaleel sends updates and photos about the status of her pet. She had him promise to return the cat to her when she comes back to Syria.

These cats have found a sanctuary in the middle of a war zone in Syria. Via Nobel Peace Prize to Alaa/Facebook

These cats have found a sanctuary in the middle of a war zone in Syria. Via Nobel Peace Prize to Alaa/Facebook

When he first started looking after and caring for the animals, there were only 20 to 30 cats, Aljaleel told the BBC. In just a year, he was caring for more than 100 cats. That is when Aljaleel launched Il Gattaro d’Aleppo, a Facebook group dedicated to saving cats in the city.

Mohammad Alaa Aljaleel showing some love to one of the many cats that his group has rescued in Aleppo. Via Nobel Peace Prize to Alaa/Facebook

Mohammad Alaa Aljaleel showing some love to one of the many cats that his group has rescued in Aleppo. Via Nobel Peace Prize to Alaa/Facebook

Aljaleel is a busy man. He saves people from the ravages of war, in addition to saving cats. He has had such an impact that a Facebook page has been launched to campaign for Aljaleel to win a Nobel Peace Prize.

Mohammad Alaa Aljaleel carries a child to safety in war torn Aleppo. Via Nobel Peace Prize to Alaa/Facebook

Mohammad Alaa Aljaleel carries a child to safety in war torn Aleppo. Via Nobel Peace Prize to Alaa/Facebook

“Someone who has mercy in their heart for people,” Aljaleel told the BBC, “has mercy for every living thing.”

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  • True hero.

    Clint October 1, 2016 9:59 am Reply
    • This proves that there ARE compassionate and humane people ALL over the world! Sometimes people think the people in these countries are heartless and cruel–wrong! I will donate to his cause.

      D.G. Sifuentes November 2, 2016 4:44 pm Reply
  • This man is hero in every sense of the word he’s saving the lifes of humans and animal with great risk to his own life. And doesn’t ask for any reward he just does it because he cares if he in my own personal opinion doesn’t get the Nobel it’s a great shame. But I’m sure he will continue on no matter what him and many others who care enough to help those in need who ever they may be .

    Annette October 2, 2016 1:39 am Reply
    • Absolutely! This man is a saint to stay behind and despite the extreme conditions he lives
      in, risks his life for these cats and also people. He truly deserves the Nobel Peace Prize!! God be with him always.

      Sandy November 2, 2016 9:20 am Reply
    • I too so agree with you.

      Joanie November 2, 2016 10:25 am Reply
  • Thanks with all my hearth
    Thanks and God bless you….

    Irene Conca October 2, 2016 5:01 am Reply
  • He is so brave and nice person. God be with u.

    Chely October 2, 2016 6:57 am Reply
  • Please do not feed cats a lot of rice. They NEED MEAT! If not fed enough meat and too much rice, they will GO BLIND and suffer other sad health issues. You are such a beautiful & kind soul! PLEASE let us know a link or how to send financial support for all you do. Kind Hugs & MUCH Blessings to you!

    cindy October 5, 2016 2:32 am Reply
    • Yes, I agree with Cindy. PLEASE let people know how we can directly help this wonderful, wonderful man and the cats he is loving. Even hard food is so much healthier for cats than rice.

      L. Moodie November 2, 2016 2:58 am Reply
    • They are on face book ll Gattaro d’Aleppo

      Carla November 2, 2016 4:51 am Reply
    • listen animals in 3rd world countries dont have friskies or 9 lives cat food. even with no war i’m sure they dont have foods that we have for our pets. the cats will survive with rice, without not.
      there are no butchers left in syria except in the palace

      seymour butz November 2, 2016 10:09 am Reply
      • Unfortunately cats are, “Obligate Carnivores.” This means they must have meat, even if it’s mice and rats. Rice does not contain Taurine, and without it in their diets they will go blind, no question. Taurine can be bought to add to the rice if this is the cheapest option. But I suggest he gets a vet.’s advice as to how much they need a day. Is there not a fund set up to help with his costs for food and vet.’s care, as well as neutering?

        Maxine Sheehan November 2, 2016 4:12 pm Reply

          NOTYOURBIS November 3, 2016 7:06 am Reply
    • Maybe arrangements can be made to send in supplies for him.

      Joanie November 2, 2016 10:30 am Reply
  • Bless the beasts and the children and Mohammad Alaa Aljaleel.

    Barbara October 5, 2016 6:30 am Reply
  • God bless him for what he’s doing for Christ’s noblest creation, the kitty. And bless him for what he’s doing for the entire community. Please keep him and all Syrians in your prayers for salvation. This war is the Satanic, New World Order doing of a corrupt administration, designed to turn the region over to radical Islamists, please remember that when going to the polls–you’re voting for the lives of Syrians and Syrian kitties.

    Allen Vergakis November 2, 2016 2:47 am Reply
  • I did post this exact Reply to Cindy’s posting above: Yes, I agree with Cindy. PLEASE let people know how we can directly help this wonderful, wonderful man and the cats he is loving. Even hard food is so much healthier for cats than rice.

    L. Moodie November 2, 2016 2:59 am Reply

    Phillip Breese November 2, 2016 3:57 am Reply
  • He SHOULD win the Peace Prize…what a wonderful man.

    Patty November 2, 2016 3:58 am Reply
  • Mohammad, you are truly a saint for people and kitties. May God be with you.

    Bruce Wilson November 2, 2016 4:41 am Reply
  • I had tears as I was reading this story, what an amazing man, a true Angel.

    Angela Parker November 2, 2016 5:10 am Reply
  • Wow , God sent an angel on earth and his name Is Mohammad. It is amazing hero!

    Carmen November 2, 2016 5:17 am Reply
  • God Bless you and your cats. You are a hero!!!!!
    Thank you

    Libby November 2, 2016 5:28 am Reply
  • What a beautiful man!!! God Bless you. You really are an angel.
    I wonder if there is some sort of place that can assist with getting them spayed and nuetered!
    Thank you!!!

    lisa taddeo November 2, 2016 5:35 am Reply
  • To Mohammad Alaa Aljaleel,
    Since I first saw your story, I have prayed for God our Savior Jesus Christ, to keep His hands of protection upon you, your family, and friends. That His hands of protection would also be upon all the cats, dogs, and other animals you care for, to protect and keep all of you safe. You have a precious calling of God to try and save “the least of these”, whether they be animal or human. I am grateful you are following it.

    Louanne Birkner November 2, 2016 5:39 am Reply
  • God Bless Mr. Aljaleel. What is left of this city; where does he get any groceries and supplies for his basic needs? I heard dogs barking in the video, are they being taken care of by anyone or starving in the streets. This carnage of whole villages, cities, and states in that part of the world is beyond belief and all in the name of some religion. Even if cat food was sent, how would it ever be delivered to this man? Sorry to sound like the grim reaper, but facts are facts. And BTW I agree that Mr. Aljaleel is deserving of a Nobel prize far more so than an American song writer.

    Roadrunner2 November 2, 2016 5:41 am Reply
  • a true man, God bless you.

    claudio November 2, 2016 6:08 am Reply
  • Bless you for your kindness, love and caring for those precious Cats! You will receive a blessing.
    Thank you, thank you!!!

    Margaret November 2, 2016 6:19 am Reply
  • What a wonderful world this would be if there were more people like this gentleman, who not only has a big enough heart for all these beautiful animals, but for people as well. He continues to keep in touch with a young girl who had to give up her pet cat. I hope he is blessed a million times over–to see the cats cuddle with him, I think you can agree he already is.

    Nancy Valente November 2, 2016 6:39 am Reply
  • God bless this angel. The world needs more like him.

    Edwin November 2, 2016 6:43 am Reply
  • What a wonderful human being! I pray that he and his cat sanctuary will be safe!

    Elizabeth Werner November 2, 2016 6:51 am Reply
  • This man is a true hero in every sense of the world. Thank you so much for what you do for these precious animals. The world needs more human beings like yourself. God Bless you. You are a beautiful human being.

    Carol November 2, 2016 7:06 am Reply
  • A true hero who deserves the Nobel Prize (and the money that comes with it!). Aljaleel is going to be so overwhelmed as these cats begin reproducing unabated. If each male cat were neutered upon arrival, the numbers would remain more manageable. The surgery is simple and recovery is super quick. I would like to donate money but am having a hard time figuring out how. Anyone know?

    Cindy November 2, 2016 8:00 am Reply
    • Click on the link above to the Facebook page. See the Description – there are no vets there, so they can’t neuter 🙁 There is also paypal information in the Description – but you have to be careful and not mention Aleppo or Syria. Hope that helps.

      Tonya November 2, 2016 8:35 am Reply
      • are there any vets willing to go there and SPAY/NEUTER? this is getting out of control and the cats will suffer They also need meat Rice has no nutritional value to cats they’ll go blind Can someone help?

        jen November 2, 2016 12:30 pm Reply
  • True Hero, thank you for doing this. I wish you peace and your country peace.

    ZoAnne November 2, 2016 8:30 am Reply
  • God bless Mr. Aljaleel. What a wonderful, incredible man! I pray the day will come very soon when he, his precious cats, and those who are helping him will live in peace.

    Judy November 2, 2016 9:01 am Reply
  • Mr. Aljaleel you are a Hero and everyone who loves animals is thanking you for helping.
    How can we provide funds to help you with purchasing dry cat food? It will be more nutritious for them than rice. Many people here want to help you.

    Carolyn November 2, 2016 9:12 am Reply
  • Amazing gentleman – God bless him and keep him safe so he can continue on his quest of saving all the animals in his area and people. He knows deep in his heart that what he is doing is what he is meant to do.

    Martha S November 2, 2016 9:13 am Reply
  • I just love you for that !!!

    Kamille L. öttzauw November 2, 2016 9:33 am Reply
  • This man is truly a hero! The world could use many millions more like him! God Bless you, sir!

    J. David Scott November 2, 2016 9:51 am Reply
  • This man is wonderful!!! How do we vote for him?!

    becki November 2, 2016 9:53 am Reply

    Bob November 2, 2016 10:06 am Reply
  • Just when one hears of so many cruel acts by people, we see a man like him doing such wonderful things and spreading so much kindness. Stay safe my friend.

    Robert Sanders November 2, 2016 10:15 am Reply
  • What an incredible man, while everybody else is shooting he is out risking his life to save the cats and people also. I sure hope he makes it through all this because he surely does deserve a Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts.

    Henry November 2, 2016 10:18 am Reply
  • There should be a lot more people that do this.

    The world would be a much kinder and loving place for everyone and everything.

    Barb November 2, 2016 10:18 am Reply
  • Thank you. You are a true hero.

    Tracy November 2, 2016 10:20 am Reply
    • looks like they need bags of cat food rice has no nutrition esp for cats they will go blind without meat

      jack November 2, 2016 12:26 pm Reply
  • Does anyone know how to send him money to help with his wonderful work?

    Danielle November 2, 2016 11:03 am Reply
  • how can I help him ?

    Terri November 2, 2016 11:44 am Reply
  • Let us know how we can help this person. I’m sure there are no stores there to buy cat food even if we send money. Anyone have an answer?

    betty englert November 2, 2016 12:51 pm Reply
  • What a sweet man! You have a good heart!

    sassykit November 2, 2016 1:11 pm Reply
  • Keep up your great work Mohammad, helping cats and people — ensure the cats get proper nutrition, if possible — I wonder if deliveries can be flown into Aleppo TODAY?

    mari smet November 2, 2016 1:12 pm Reply
  • VETS are needed to go help spay/neuter and DON’T FORGET THE ZOO as well! Those animals are even more desperate because they are TRAPPED behind bars and can’t move to find water and food!!

    guest100 November 2, 2016 1:14 pm Reply
  • Dear God – please protect Mohammad Alaa Aljaleel! Bless him, keep him safe – WHAT A HERO!
    He’s caring for Your precious animals, while in the U.S. Hilary Clinton is preaching abortion – the killing of Your innocent unborn babies!!

    Helga van Stellingwerff November 2, 2016 1:26 pm Reply
  • What a fantastic person. Gives one hope for the human species. May the God of his understanding take care of him.

    Carol November 2, 2016 2:23 pm Reply
  • May God bless you and help you with the cats…may the cats be safe.

    Marjorie Coey November 2, 2016 2:52 pm Reply
  • Would Go Fund Me allow us to start a Page for this guy so we can get proper cat food and send it to him?

    Terrie Lynn November 2, 2016 3:05 pm Reply
  • May Allah reward you brother for helping these animals. There is a reward in Islam for your kindness and mercy to animals.

    Debra White November 2, 2016 3:14 pm Reply
  • Not all people are bad and may god bless this man and the people that help him. He is in a dangerous place with these animals. Wish there was some way of getting those animals out of there or at least get them spayed/neutere

    suz November 2, 2016 4:19 pm Reply
  • You are a Beautiful human being. I love your heart.
    Thank you
    Thank you
    Thank you….

    swimmergirl November 2, 2016 4:42 pm Reply
  • I was unable to find any information on donating on the FB page, but even so, how can one be sure any monies donated go to this hero for cats if there is no mention of where it is going? Someone wrote not to mention Syria or Aleppo. Any advice?

    carol adler November 2, 2016 5:35 pm Reply
  • there are true humans every where just not to many otherwise that little girl could be home with her cat instead of being a refugee in turkey yes rice is not good for cats but neither is war and that is properly all that he can feed the cats so lets hope for some mice for them schalom may peace be with you

    Mirjam White November 2, 2016 8:51 pm Reply
  • Wow, what a big heart! Just love how this man took it upon himself to care for so many cats who needed his help..I do hope there is someone/group who can help spay/neuter these kitties, so the numbers don’t continue to grow..He will have an easier time managing them if the numbers stay lower..He’s a very special man. Is there any way we can help him in some way with cat food, or donations? please post if so…I also hope he finds friends who love cats who will help this man care for them, he needs an extra hand…:-)

    Lynn November 2, 2016 9:04 pm Reply
  • A real HERO in every sense of the word.

    David Prosser November 2, 2016 9:16 pm Reply
  • I implore everyone to go look at the Facebook pages. Everything you need to know to help & to provide essential items for survival for human, dogs & cats. This man helps all living beings! He even made a playground for the children at the cat sanctuary (there’s dogs there too) & he gives toys out to the children when the3y come to play….He is providing proper nourishment for the animals but right now, he really needs help with supplies. This includes water. If everyone went right now & donated something…ANYTHING….it would be an immense help! Whether it is a needed item, a gallon of water, a bag of cat food or dog food, money…even one dollar would help! AND; this is very important; SHARE THIS FACEBOOK PAGE & ASK EVERYONE YOU KNOW TO SHARE IT & hopefully donate as well…..<3
    If we stick together & all do the best we can…it's going to make a HUGE DIFFERENCE!!! This man deserves the support! God bless them all and keep them all safe & healthy! ~Amen~

    Christy Parker November 2, 2016 9:19 pm Reply
  • God Bless this man, everyone who helps him & all the dogs & cats! What a Saint!!!!! I look forward to making a donation. Like someone else mentioned, if everyone gives even $1-$2, this can make a a big difference. Just think of all the critters he’s helping.

    Angie Anglin November 2, 2016 11:18 pm Reply
  • A true hero! May God watch over you, sir!

    Maria November 2, 2016 11:54 pm Reply
  • My heart and blessing certainly go out to this wonderful man and all that he is doing, but I would suggest NOT to send any monies to a fund that states do not mention his name or Syria. This could be a total scam and your money will not be going to help this man nor the cats but lining someone’s pocket.
    I believe that all we can do at this point is pray and leave it in Gods hand, that is unless someone knows a Vet willing to travel there and bring supplies.

    tlyn November 4, 2016 10:51 am Reply

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