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Friday 9 August 2019

The aftermath of bombing: video by Merna Alhasan

Merna Alhasan, in the town of Arihah, in the Syrian province of Idlib, speaks about the pain of the aftermath of bombing:

“Of course we all experience it, but in the immediate aftermath we don’t feel the full catastrophe that has befallen us. In the immediate aftermath of an airstrike, people are busy praying for those killed, pulling the injured from the ruins, and clearing up the town. But there is greater anguish that affects us after bombardment.

“Here, five people were killed, and many injured, including women and children. It’s not only people’s homes that are deliberately targeted, but also vital institutions and infrastructure. It is an attempt to completely cut the lifelines of towns. It is a policy of systematic destruction to force civilians to flee, targeting rural parts of south and west Idlib, Arihah and other towns. These areas have been under a vicious military campaign by Russian aggressors as well as Assad forces.

“Arihah today is almost empty, no longer the bride of the north, no longer the city of cherry trees. The ground is tinted with blood of the children and women killed.

“We witnessed devastating events. Rawan and her sister, the people who perished here, burned to death, because there was a fuel store here. “Here in the same place we had a local authority department, and a teachers’ union. People have left here now.

“Some will return to this town, to the cities they fled from, but they will find no home, no life. So where can these people go?

“Some people can’t afford to flee. This reflects the general situation of people living in liberated areas.

“But still, some people will return, return to find homes destroyed, their city decimated. So families are forced to leave, or forced to live in a small room, bare, with nothing but a roof, because they want to stay in their home town.

“That is why I wanted to talk about these less obvious effects, far reaching effects of bombing which amount to a humanitarian catastrophe. All that we worked for, that we spent our lives building, is under threat of destruction, of being ground down to the floor by Russian aggressors and Assad forces.

“But I want to send a message: Here in Idlib, there are millions of people, and they have not given up. This is our hope, God willing, that we will win our freedom, despite all the bloodshed, despite all we have sacrificed, and that victory will be with us.”