Idlib Calling | 24 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: Black Tuesday

In Saraqeb, after “Black Tuesday,” the street is quiet. For three days, residents have been mourning ten young fighters from the Free Syrian Army who were killed during skirmishes in the countryside outside Hama. The shops and markets are closed. The silence is broken only by the sound of fighter jets and explosions in the distance.

“Good morning Ahmed, it’s been a while — how are you?”

“Not well, yet again. We’re mourning the deaths of 10 young men, all from our village. You probably read about it. Brigades of the Free Army were fighting regime soldiers near Hama.”

“We got the news only because two fighters managed to escape and found their way back here. The ten who were killed were all from here, boys from the neighbourhood. Everyone in Saraqeb knows them. The bodies were left behind on the battlefield, so we couldn’t bury them.”

“When we heard the news, I was almost certain that we would be bombed again that day as revenge, because fighters from Saraqeb had taken part. We did get bombed, but luckily there were no casualties.”

“My children are now staying at my brother’s, outside Saraqeb. It’s safer there. Fortunately, my wife and I are doing well, under the circumstances. The stress of the war and the fear of bombs every day puts everything under pressure. Everyone is stressed out and people take it out on each other.”

“By the way: the clip that we talked about last time just went online. If you have the chance, it would be great if you could check it out. I’m curious to hear what you think of it.”

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