By Rick Sallinger

DENVER (CBS4) – There is but one word to describe the misery the people of Aleppo have been going through.

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Aleppo (credit: CBS)

Aleppo (credit: CBS)

That word, according to Mohamad Radwan Kalaaji, is hell.

“What is this hell like?” CBS4 reporter Rick Sallinger asked him.

“They don’t have running water, electricity, bombing around them all of the time,” Kalaaji answered.

Mohamad Radwan Kalaaji (credit: CBS)

Mohamad Radwan Kalaaji (credit: CBS)

The Syrian city he left behind, in many parts, bears little resemblance to the last time he was there. But many of his family members remain behind on both sides of the fighting.

“When they sleep at night they don’t know if they are going to be alive the next day,” he said.

He says he has heard nothing from those trapped on the east, or rebel, side.

CBS4 asked if he would try to reach someone for us inside Aleppo. He was able to make contact with his neice Hanan on his smartphone.

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“How hard has it been for you?” Sallinger asked her.

Mohamad Radwan Kalaaji (credit: CBS)

CBS4’s Rick Sallinger interviews Kalaaji’s neice through his phone on Friday. (credit: CBS)

“For me, I think when I enter my home that I am still alive, this is something like a miracle,” she said.

She told CBS4 when her husband and children go out she is filled with anxiety.

“I ask myself if my kids is still alive or my husband is still alive,” Hanan said.

For those on the eastern side, the evacuations have halted for now. Their best hope is to somehow make it to the the government side.

Khalaaji, who lives in Fort Collins, gave Sallinger and photographer Glen McReynolds some baklava for his thanks. Khalaaji called it the “best in the world” and explained he sells it in Colorado and gives the money to charity to help those in Aleppo and other parts of Syria, plus refugees abroad.

Additional Resources

For information on how to obtain some of Khalaaji’s baklava, call him at (970) 443-3048.

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CBS4’s Rick Sallinger is a Peabody award winning reporter who has been with the station more than two decades doing hard news and investigative reporting. Follow him on Twitter @ricksallinger.