Idlib Calling | 6 juni 2019 | by Evert-Jan Grit


Meet Ahmed, theater producer from Saraqeb, and friend and partner of PAX. His life is no bed of roses. Saraqeb is in the Syrian province of Idlib, in the northwest of the country. Idlib's future is, to say the least, uncertain.
Every day, people get killed in air strikes and shelling by the Syrian and Russian armies. Children die covered in dust and debris. The war in Idlib is primarily a war against civilians.
A couple of times a month we speak with Ahmed to hear how he and his family are getting on. He says its important for people in Idlib that we here in the Netherlands hear about what's happening. It makes them feel like they haven't been forgotten.

Idlib Calling: All we hear is silence

I wanted to talk to Ahmed today about how he celebrated the Eid al-Fitr, the festival ending the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. I had seen that his theater group had organized a party for the children in Saraqeb, with music, a puppet show and lots of confetti. But the war is inescapable. Ahmed needs to get something off his chest.

Hi Ahmed, what’s wrong?

“We were at my brother’s place last night. Suddenly the ground started shaking and trembling, as if there was an earthquake. The next morning, we saw that the doors and window frames were all akilter. Bombs had fallen on a nearby village, Zammar, I think. ”

“It’s so hard here now. Nearly everyone from the southerrn parts of Idlib have fled their villages. They live in tents or take shelter in the orchards. They are looking for shelter from the sun and the heat — we can’t do anything for them. ”

“Some people are too weak or too old or too poor to flee. A man stayed in his house with his family, waiting for the soldiers to come. The house was hit and his son lost a leg. Imagine … every day we tell each other these stories, and by now there are hundreds of them. ”

“I think I figured out why our street has been getting bombed so often. We live near the al-Ihsan hospital – I’m sure they’re targetting the area. If they wanted to, they could destroy the hospital completely, but apparently they’re putting that off. For now it seems they want to kill or injure as many people as possible.”

“Yesterday we promised the children we would organize a really big party for them for next year’s Eid … but if I look deep in my heart, I’m afraid we won’t be able to keep this promise. I’m afraid there won’t be a next time.”

“We had been hoping that the world would see us and help us. But all we hear is silence … “

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