Beirut / While the attacks of the Syrian Army do not cease in the province of Idlib, in northwestern Syria, little Salwa, 3, who already distinguishes what a war plane is and if it launches a missile or not, every Once he hears the noise of the bombs falling, he laughs out loud. He thinks the bombs are fireworks.
Abdullah Mohamed, the minor’s father, recorded a video of him and his daughter at the time when projectiles fell near his home. Instead of crying, Salwa looked at his father and they both laughed on the couch as they followed the attacks, a 20-second scene that was posted on Twitter and spread widely online.
“It was the Muslim holiday of Eid al Adha (Feast of the Sacrifice) a year and a half ago when Salwa saw how the children enjoyed fireworks at the same time that there was suddenly a bombardment,” Abdullah, from Abdullah, tells EFE by telephone. 32 years, from a city on the Turkish-Syrian border, which he prefers not to mention for security reasons.
“I took her to the balcony and she saw the children and the fireworks. Since then, the story is believed that bombs are fireworks. After a few days, the same thing happened and I took advantage and told him the same story. She believed me, ”says Mohamed.
“In the video I ask if it is a plane or a missile. She tells me it’s a missile. She already begins to know what it is, ”says the father.
But in addition to laughing with fireworks, the father has another strategy: the popular song and video for children “Baby Shark” with his catchy melody “Baby Shark, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo.”
“Sometimes, when there is a bombardment near the windows, I play music. I put his favorite song: the ‘Baby Shark’. And we started singing, ”Abdullah says with a laugh.
“She looks at my reaction to know what is happening. If I’m happy, she is. If I laugh, she too… and if I get scared, she too, ”he says.
Her first day of life, her first bombing
As the father relates, Salwa’s life has not been easy in Idlib. On his first day of life in Saraqeb, in eastern Idlib where they came from, he already heard his first bombing.
“The same day Salwa was born at the clinic, that same clinic was bombed two hours after my wife gave birth and just when we were returning home,” he says.
Salwa is already part of the hundreds of thousands displaced in Idlib as he fled his home from the hand of his family forced by the advances of the Syrian Army, supported by Russian troops in the offensive launched last April to capture Idlib, the one considered Last opposition stronghold in Syria.
According to UN figures published on Thursday, some 900,000 people have been displaced from their homes by hostilities in the northwestern region of Syria, practically dominated by the Levante Liberation Agency, an Islamist alliance that includes the Syrian ex-affiliate Al Qaeda, which Moscow and Damascus consider “terrorist.”
For the bombings, Mehmet Algan, friend of Mohamed, wrote to him from Turkey to ask him how he was doing. And Mohamed sent him the video.
“He sent me the video of him and his daughter while they were laughing. First I wrote about him and the text went viral, then I asked Abdullah if he could publish the video and he said yes, so I published it, ”Mehmet explained to EFE.
So far, the video uploaded by Mehmet, which works for the Medical Association for Syrian Expatriates, already accumulates two and a half million views on Twitter.
This war is not for children
“This war is for adults, if it already affects adults psychologically, what are we going to do with children?” Abdullah asks, adding: “If children start with fear and war, how are they going to continue?”.
In 2020 alone, 28 children have died, as UNICEF has been able to verify, and another 49 were injured as a result of the escalation of violence in Idlib and western Aleppo province.
Since the beginning of the offensive on April 29 until February 10, 503 children have lost their lives in northwestern Syria due to hostilities, according to the UN Office of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
“We have nowhere to go (…). The only option is to go across the sea, but I can’t put my daughter’s life at risk. Going by sea is the same as living under the bombings, ”he confesses.
“The worst scenario is that the bombings hit us. But at least, we will die happily, ”ditch. (February 20, 2020, EFE / PracticaEspañol)