"Six years ago, life started to become worse and worse in Aleppo."
"Many families were forced to flee their homes and seek safety elsewhere in Syria. A mother of four shares her difficult story."
Hamida Ahmad Babnsi (Om Mohammad) from the Alsha’ar district of Aleppo, is a married woman with four children. She told her story to GOAL staff members, from whom she and her family are receiving aid.
“We lived all our lives in Aleppo city. My husband is an electrician, but there had been no electricity in our part of the city for six years, so we were surviving on relief assistance that was delivered randomly to us every two months or so. Now we are in this camp in northern Syria. My husband is still with us, but he has to live in a large men-only tent.
“Six years ago, life started to become worse and worse in Aleppo, leading to us losing all necessities like fuel, water and bread so we had to try to bake bread for ourselves.
“For a while, despite the continuous bombing, children could continue going to school and the mosques to learn. However, when the bombing intensified and began targeting everything including the schools, children were deprived from all their rights of learning and playing. They couldn’t even go to the parks to play, because parks were targeted too. They were turned into tombs.
“The situation in Aleppo became disastrous, especially in the last days. When we were still in our home, a rocket went straight through it. Praise be to God, we were hurt only by fragments. We ran to a cellar, which was also soon destroyed over us. I got out, but my little son was still under the rubble, and I did not know how to find my other children. “I ran into the road shouting, “I want my children, I want my children”. Another rocket dropped on my friend Fatima’s home, and her father lost his hand. Two people rushed to save him, but another rocket fell killing everyone. As for my friend Fatima, they could not find her for three days because she had been blown to bits.
“The reality of eastern Aleppo was beyond description.”“Finally we decided to flee eastern Aleppo. While we were running from one building to another, and from street to street, corpses were scatted all along the way. The regime soldiers and the Iranian militias were stealing from homes and shops. We had been living in our home for five years and didn’t want to leave it. However, we could not stay any longer. For the people who did stay, their homes became their graves. There were no longer any hospitals or ambulances, injured children were dying before the eyes of their parents.
“Ten days before we fled the Alsha’ar neighborhood, our neighbor, who had a small shop near his home, was sitting with friends when a rocket fell killing him, his children and pregnant wife and more than 50 other people. There are so many horrific stories and tragedies. The reality of eastern Aleppo was beyond description.
“When we fled Aleppo, the bombing seemed to follow us wherever we went. We had nothing to eat other than dry bread. We burned plastic for baking some bread when we had a little flour.
“Eventually we made it to here [northern Syria] where the reception was very good, and we were offered what we need. However, we still need homes to stay in. As you can see, the women and children here are living in collective centres where diseases are spread because of the bad climate and harsh life. We wish for the children who arrive here alone to complete their studies, and we are ready to volunteer to teach them. We also need baby milk, cleaning items and housewares.
“I wish that we could come back together as a family again, sleeping under one roof. Unlike now, where the men and women are separated, and stay in different accommodation. However, my biggest wish is to go back to our home in Aleppo, where we can stay even if it was destroyed. We can use covers instead of walls, and rebuild our house again.”
Hamida Babnsi (Om Mohammad)