Meet the Cat Man of Syria's War-torn Aleppo

As the war raged in Syria and cat lovers fled the city, he was left with 170 cats to feed and a new nickname

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Mohammed Alaa al-Jaleel carries a cat on his shoulder at Ernesto's Cat Sanctuary that he runs in Kfar Naha, an opposition-held town in Aleppo province in Syria on March 17, 2018.
Mohammed Alaa al-Jaleel carries a cat on his shoulder at Ernesto's Cat Sanctuary that he runs in Kfar Naha, an opposition-held town in Aleppo province in Syria on March 17, 2018. Credit: OMAR HAJ KADOUR/AFP
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Haaretz
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Haaretz

The 43-year-old, al-Jaleel who grew up in Aleppo, has been mad about cats since he was a boy. As the war raged in Syria and cat lovers fled the city, he was left with 170 cats to feed and a new nickname: the Cat Man of Aleppo.

A cat sits at the entrance of the sleeping area of Ernesto's Cat Sanctuary in Kfar Naha, an opposition-held town in Aleppo province in Syria on March 17, 2018.
A cat sits at the entrance of the sleeping area of Ernesto's Cat Sanctuary in Kfar Naha, an opposition-held town in Aleppo province in Syria on March 17, 2018, Credit: OMAR HAJ KADOUR/AFP
Cats feed on mincemeat at lunchtime on March 17, 2018, at Ernesto's Cat Sanctuary run by Mohammed Alaa al-Jaleel in Kfar Naha, an opposition-held town in Aleppo province in Syria.
Cats feed on mincemeat at lunchtime on March 17, 2018, at Ernesto's Cat Sanctuary run by Mohammed Alaa al-Jaleel in Kfar Naha, an opposition-held town in Aleppo province in Syria. Credit: OMAR HAJ KADOUR/AFP
Mohammed Alaa al-Jaleel pets cats at Ernesto's Cat Sanctuary that he runs in Kfar Naha, an opposition-held town in Aleppo province in Syria on March 17, 2018.
Mohammed Alaa al-Jaleel pets cats at Ernesto's Cat Sanctuary that he runs in Kfar Naha, an opposition-held town in Aleppo province in Syria on March 17, 2018. Credit: OMAR HAJ KADOUR/AFP
Mohammed Alaa al-Jaleel holds a feline patient on her back as an ultrasound probe is rolled across her pregnant belly on March 17, 2018, at Ernesto's Cat Sanctuary that he runs in Kfar Naha, an opposition-held town in Aleppo province in Syria.
Mohammed Alaa al-Jaleel holds a feline patient on her back as an ultrasound probe is rolled across her pregnant belly on March 17, 2018.Credit: OMAR HAJ KADOUR/AFP
Cats feed on mincemeat at lunchtime on March 17, 2018, at Ernesto's Cat Sanctuary run by Mohammed Alaa al-Jaleel in Kfar Naha, an opposition-held town in Aleppo province in Syria.
Cats feed on mincemeat at lunchtime on March 17, 2018, at Ernesto's Cat Sanctuary run by Mohammed Alaa al-Jaleel in Kfar Naha, an opposition-held town in Aleppo province in Syria.Credit: OMAR HAJ KADOUR/AFP
A volunteer grinds mincemeat to feed cats at Ernesto's Cat Sanctuary run by Mohammed Alaa al-Jaleel in Kfar Naha, an opposition-held town in Aleppo province in Syria on March 17, 2018.
A volunteer grinds mincemeat to feed cats at Ernesto's Cat Sanctuary run by Mohammed Alaa al-Jaleel in Kfar Naha, an opposition-held town in Aleppo province in Syria on March 17, 2018. Credit: OMAR HAJ KADOUR/AFP
Mohammed Alaa al-Jaleel plays with a cat at Ernesto's Cat Sanctuary that he runs in Kfar Naha, an opposition-held town in Aleppo province in Syria on March 17, 2018.
Mohammed Alaa al-Jaleel plays with a cat at Ernesto's Cat Sanctuary that he runs in Kfar Naha, an opposition-held town in Aleppo province in Syria on March 17, 2018. Credit: OMAR HAJ KADOUR/AFP
Mohammed Alaa al-Jaleel holds a feline near marble cubes used as houses at Ernesto's Cat Sanctuary that he runs in Kfar Naha, an opposition-held town in Aleppo province in Syria on March 17, 2018.
Mohammed Alaa al-Jaleel holds a feline near marble cubes used as houses at Ernesto's Cat Sanctuary that he runs in Kfar Naha, an opposition-held town in Aleppo province in Syria on March 17, 2018. Credit: OMAR HAJ KADOUR/AFP
Mohammed Alaa al-Jaleel holds a feline patient as it gets its teeth checked on March 17, 2018, at Ernesto's Cat Sanctuary that he runs in Kfar Naha, an opposition-held town in Aleppo province in Syria.
Mohammed Alaa al-Jaleel holds a feline patient as it gets its teeth checked on March 17, 2018, at Ernesto's Cat Sanctuary that he runs in Kfar Naha, an opposition-held town in Aleppo province in SyriaCredit: OMAR HAJ KADOUR/AFP

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