It is never easy to leave homeland. Leaving roots and getting dragged towards obscurity is never easy. But the real hardship is to keep existence under the claws of poverty in your homeland in which death and evil are loose in the streets. Syrian people giving an honorable battle of survival need help. The city turns fast into defending bulwarks since there is no availability to construct a new building. Trenches are getting built using whatever material found underhand just to be protected against bullets and bombs. These have become the ordinary duties of the day. Apartment houses are serving both trench and household functions. Aleppo, not long ago the economic capital of Syria, is now a war zone.
Here, aim of each living body is the same. Staying alive, protecting family and region. Threats are too many. Precautions are the same. The curtains hung everywhere to unable the vision of snipers are the basic indicators of the importance of danger coming from sly bullets.
The rubble heaps in the street entrances are aimed to block motorized units’ entrance into the region. People of Aleppo are giving a survival struggle within physical and psychological ruins of war. Guns, bombs and bullets are a dimension of this struggle. There is also another dimension which is more tiring, stemming from lack of basic humanitarian necessities such as food and water.
There was a man named Ayhan, coordination President of We are Ummah Platform and he says:
“We are working on humanitarian aid coordination in Syria. We came into Hatay. From Hatay to Syria the first aid activity was about health. We established an organization in Hatay in the development phase of the war. Very many organizations from Turkey and abroad are supporting. There are also some organizations we are collaborating to organize aid within Syria. Our task is to coordinate this organization. Excluding some centers we are able to reach almost every region in Syria.
Homs, Damascus and Idlib as main center locations; we are able to reach very many regions from Lattakia up to Iraqian border. Regarding distribution, the material destined to inland Syria is transshipped by Syrian vehicles. The needed material is decided before for each region in coordination with Syrian partner organizations. When medical material is needed we are bringing medical material, when food is needed we are carrying food. Also whenever clothing needed we take clothing. Silenced minarets are rising as monuments of shame in Aleppo.”
Here you go four words you probably didn’t know:
1- Ummah is an Arabic word meaning nation or community.
2- Hatay is a province in southern Turkey.
3- Homs is one of the fourteen governorate provinces of Syria.
4- Damascus is the capital of Syria.
5- Idlib is a city in northwestern Syria.
6- Lattakia is the principal port city of Syria.
7- Minaret is a distinctive architectural structure and typically found adjacent to mosques.
There was another man named “Ebu Omer”. And Ebu Omer is working in the distribution of the aid packages. Ebu Omer who had sent his children to a camp in Turkey when regime forces started mass murder, later brought them back to Aleppo. They decided “If we will die, let’s die together.” Ebu Omer, one day after departure of our group was shot when he was walking in Aleppo streets together with his children. When the bullet passing above heads of children hit his gun he was carrying under his left arm he was saved from dying. The proper distribution of the help packages is organized by Ser-i Heyet called ‘Justice Council’. Ser-i Heyet is also responsible for city justice, public order and municipality services.
Innocence, hope and future carried on the shoulders of the children of war. Their games and laughter are like flowers blossoming in the ruins. Games sometimes are mixed with war, sometimes with work.
“Pastry, I have pastry…”
Some children are striving for survival, collecting their food among the ruins of the city. Little hands are now in behind front lines. This is a kitchen serving warriors fighting at the front.
Todays’ menu is fried potato in bread…
However, the fried potato dislikers are not out of choice…
There was another man named Adem Kalayci and he says:
“When I saw the orphans in Semmarin Orphan Camp, I understood that Syrian orphans do not resemble any other orphan of the World. Because I had never seen any orphan subjected to such cruelty. For example, people think that when food packages are sent or trucks bring aid packages everything is all right. But, it never is so easy. There are children whose fathers, mothers were butchered in front of their eyes. The psychology of most of these children is broken. Lots of children lost their minds.
For example, there are some children because their fathers were shot in front of them they are unable even to sleep. I witnessed five children had completely lost their minds. Their fathers were cut into pieces in front of them. Here, we have 81 tent camps under our support. We are distributing warm bread on daily basis. We are sending their monthly food packages, aid packages. We are sending clothing and but it doesn’t stop there. Because, the women have all lost their spirit of motherhood. They are almost unable to care their children. These women were got widows when they were only sixteen, fifteen or eighteen.
These women with their three to four children are not able to function as mothers and worse they are unable to cope the society. I was considering myself as mature. When I talked little children here, I recognized how mature they had become. I want to mention one case I had witnessed when I was in a camp. A rocket had stroke. I was scared and jumped up. A very little orphan hadn’t shown any feeling. He had talked to me saying “Don’t get scared.” I had understood at that moment. Please don’t leave orphans out.
Not only the orphans of the Syria, but whoever’s’ orphan, Christian orphan or fire worshipper’s orphan all are our own orphans. Every orphan needs to be caressed by the hair. I say that let’s own every orphan of the World and let’s never forget them.”
Please note that “Semmarin” is a district of Aleppo in Syria.
Ayhan, coordination President of We are Ummah Platform:
“Because Assad is over bombing every territory, even though you are planning a certain place for a specific moment, this program is forced to change within only a few days. In a few moments from a city hundred thousand, two hundred thousand people are running to open land and at this moment because he doesn’t have any material or equipment such as blanket, sponge, tent or any temporary housing or food we are watching and recording this.
We share our lists with our partner organizations. Under the watch of these organization employees the material are getting passed to Syrian side and distributed directly hand to hand. Our function is covering only momentary support of the injury; we don’t have curing ability. In Syria we are making monetary contributions for widows and orphans. We are also distributing widow and orphan salaries by hand. Biggest portion of our support is for martyr families, wounded and their families, hospitals, tent towns and migrants from one region to any other.
When you are moving in the field there is the possibility of groups working for the enemy. In some tent towns we have thirty to forty thousand people. Among these thirty, forty thousand people there exist people joining just to create confusion and provocation in the region. There are people coming to sabotage your distribution. There are people coming to kidnap and deliver you to the enemy. Under such conditions, because every region has its own opposition forces you must obtain support from these opposition forces.”
The furniture of the deserted houses in Aleppo are staying in the open because of the bombardment. But, in spite of all this poverty nobody touches them. It is called “haram” meaning “forbidden” by religion. “If their owners cannot find them when they return?”
The innocent people with ruined houses and lives are the losers of this war. They try to stand up in camps, shacks or tents.
A few belongings they can save from bombardments, a few pet birds are the ties for them to their past and beautiful days of the future.
A devastated woman she’s the victim of this war who has lived in a refugee camp in Syria and she says:
“We came here running away from bombs. We stayed under the bombs fired from tanks and planes. The bombs from the planes were hitting on us. My nephew was killed. He was the most important human being in the World for me. He died in front of me. We collected his split body parts. We were unable to walk on the ruins, due to bodies lying under. There stayed nobody.
My siblings were wounded; my mother has died; there is nobody left. One sibling of mine was hit in the chest, another in the arm. There are only them and my God for me. We ran away from our home. We didn’t look for any certain place to run. Under a tree or a tent. We don’t expect anything. Neither food nor water. We ask only our children and us to be protected. We all are orphans. We all are homeless. I thank Turkey very much. They protected us; they supported and helped us. We pray God to help them to succeed. Pray God to give us nice days. You fed us, you provided…”
Suffering women of Syria…
The wounds on their souls are still too fresh. They are bleeding by any single touch. They have become migrant in their homelands; and maybe this daily struggle of survival is even helping them not to remember this misery. What’s put on the table are composed of food sent by benefactors who can’t sleep when his neighbor is hungry.
Another three compatriots sharing the same tent are settling into the same table grateful to these people that they had never met before. Lack of water is one of the most important aspects in the tent town. After meal, the dishes are washed by the most economic method. But, the water in the camp is too valuable not to be disposed for washing clothes. For this, it is needed to walk about half an hour to a water reservoir out of the camp. And, this water reservoir is getting vaporized together with increase in the heat of the air…
They are from a culture learning to praise what is provided at the earliest age. Therefore, nobody is complaining about the scarcity of the conditions. Evening is settling down. The day-end chatting of fate-brothers. The measure of the day, praises, sad and sweet memories, feelings of sorrow and hope for a better tomorrow, under the fading light of a gas lamp…
And the only blanket to cover reality of war; sleeping…
The war made international morale unsolved in Syria. Even hospitals are having their share of merciless attacks. Orient Hospital, close to Turkish border, the attack resulting 16 dead and 65 wounded is just a sample of this. There was a Doctor named “Kusay Seyyid Isa” to help and he says:
“I am at this hospital from its foundation on. This hospital was first founded in Antakya. We stayed there for 2 months. Then we passed to Reyhanli. From there, we came to Atmeh and stayed here. On 23rd of February 2014, a bomb had stroke here. It was 09.35 in the morning. We were at the breakfast with the doctors. Then to check the sick we went for visit. We didn’t hear the noise of the bombing. We only recognized dust and fallen things on us in the room we were. Racks, closets, refrigerator everything fell on us. Me and two friends of mine tried to hold the closet falling on us with our hands. I was wounded from various parts of my body. My friends as well.
In the first moments of the explosion we didn’t understand anything. Some said it was a bomb from a plane. Some other said a car outside exploded. We only understood the enormity when we left the door and went out. Everybody, wounded and youngsters had fainted due to the strength of the explosion. At our hospital we now have four surgeries and 60 bed capacity. We are caring for more than 70000 people here, at the tent towns and at neighboring villages.
Besides, we are caring for the wounded brought here from frontiers and heavily bombarded regions. Some regions are too far away. For instance, there is region like Musrin within 25-30 kilometers of distance. They had hit this place ten days ago by rockets and barrel bombs. There were about 200 wounded and 50 martyrs. It was really very difficult to bring them here, and later to carry back. Here, we don’t have any Disaster Management Centre. I thank Turkish people very much. Because only Turkey stood by Syrian people.”
Please note that “Atmeh” is a village in northern Syria. And “Reyhanli” is a district of Hatay in Turkey. And “Musri” is a small ancient kingdom in northern of Iraq. Anyway. On this dangerous voyage, death calls us at the least expected moments. The sorrow we felt at the skirmish with 52 dead and 210 wounded is buried into our minds as a bitter experience.
Ayhan, coordination President of We are Ummah Platform:
“When the people were not able to carry anything by themselves in the first passages to Turkey it made us to come here; and when we came here we found most of the people living in the barns and under terrible conditions. Some of them were in Syrian part, some in Turkish part but both under very hard conditions. Depending on the winter weather conditions we distributed stoves. We helped the schools in Syria for their heating with stoves, coal etc. In some cases we built hospitals.
When we had built the first hospital in Aleppo the wounded protesters going to Assad hospitals were getting arrested. We built a hospital very close by and started treating the first wounded there. We made one request from everybody: Whoever granting is to come and see the situation here in. Because we witnessed a lot here; people with torn hands and faces from bombardment, torn bodies. Hospitals do not have capacity, bombardment is continuous; and due to this never ending bombing Aleppo got deserted.
The life is still going on, but under very heavy conditions. Due to heavy bombardment we are able to use only one emergency team in Aleppo. Our emergency team composed of Syrians is having demands. There is need for firefighter vehicles since all vehicles were hit at the bombardment. Because of the siege, food and flour entrance is slowed down. When it turns into scarcity, emergency transportation of food and flour into city center becomes a necessity. Even though Syrian War may look like only of Syria, we see it a debt of humanity to support the people getting slaughtered or running away from. Our request from everybody is to continue and increase the level of their aiding…”