Thursday, January 23, 2020


DAMASCUS, -- It has never occurred to Maha, a woman in her early 30s, that one day her husband and sister would get killed and she would have to marry her brother-in-law and raise four kids.

Maha's sister and husband were killed during the battles that has raged in the town of Daraya since 2012.

Since each of them had died leaving two kids behind, Maha and her brother-in-law decided to get married to raise the four kids together.

Still, her little dream of having her new husband by her side doesn't come true due to the war that has raged in Daraya, west of the capital Damascus.

Under a long-awaited deal concluded last week, the rebels in Daraya were allowed to evacuate to their stronghold of Idlib, a northwestern province in Syria. The civilians were allowed to leave for government-controlled shelters in the town of Hirjalleh, south of Damascus.

The deal allows the Syrian army to reassume control over Daraya, a main rebel stronghold on the western rim of Damascus.

However, Maha, with the four kids, was evacuted to Hirjalleh, while her husband ended up in Idlib with rebels.

The war-weary woman said the life in the new camp is completely different, or somewhat better, but that doesn't resonate with her, because her husband is away.

"We had lived under siege and suffered a lot from the malnutrition and lack of medicine. We used to stay indoors, out of fear of battles. The children suffered a lot, and we all suffered, particularly from the shelling, which had intensified in the last period," Maha told Xinhua.

Watching the four kids playing in the mud in front of their new dwelling, Maha couldn't hide her uneasiness about her new life, with the absence of her husband.

"My husband didn't come here, as he was among those who were evacuated to Idlib province. The food and the life here in the displacement shelter is different, in a good way, but we are not relaxed, and we are living nervously here, because my husband is not with us, and I feel I am going to be everything for the kids now."

Bara, the six-year-old son of her late sister, was playing in the mud, trying to shape some candy sticks.

Despite his tender age, the boy seems to have understood war, as he was born when the conflict in Syria broke out over five years ago.

"Back home there was nothing but shelling. here, we have food, drink and everything we need," the boy said, with apparent happiness to have finally found warmth in his stolen childhood.

Maram, Bara's younger sister, also didn't seem to have forgotten the war, as she described her life in Daraya as "nothing beautiful."

"Here is nicer, back home there was nothing beautiful, only siege. Here we have sweets and we play, but back there we couldn't play because the shelling was hard, which would keep us inside almost all the time," she said.

Those torn-apart families, with civilians and their men in the rebel groups seperated, reflect the tragic lives of the Syrian people.

The Syrian government has repeatedly promised freedom for the rebels if they surrender.

The government has also promised civilians a decent life in areas under its control, and from what has happened in Hirjalleh, it is obviously working to deliver its promises.

However, the war is still raging on and the scars it has left won't seem to go away anytime soon, since it has become a proxy war, where all major powers are involved.

But the government sees the truces and its willingness to pardon rebels as a bright chance to end the conflict and ease the suffering of the civilians.

Observers believe Daraya's case could set an example for possible scenarios in other major rebel strongholds, with the rebels encouraged to join the government forces to fight ultra-radical groups such as the Daesh terrorist group.

Daraya, a town in the western Ghouta area of Damascus, is close to the major military airbase of Mazzeh, which had been under rebel attacks from Daraya.

The town is also home to a Muslim Shiite shrine, which was attacked and bombed out several times by the Sunni-led rebels.

It is the largest town in the Western Ghouta countryside, and the second most important stronghold for the rebels in the countryside of Damascus, after Douma, the major rebel bastion east of the capital Damascus.

But "with the liberation of Daraya, an important part of the rebels' spine has been broken," a military officer told Xinhua.

Three rebel groups, the Levant Martyr Brigade, the Brigade of the Mother of Believers and the Levant's Soldiers, had been in control of the town before the evacuation deal was reached.

Source: Nam News Network