23DEC/2019 Syria – Forced displacement
No place to sleep, no place to move, no room for stability
Where to go….
These are the messages and calls that we receive every minute via the hotline that links directly to ask for help.
Yes, people are in danger
Our team was unable to enter the city of Ma`rat al-Nu`man last night again, they tried from midnight until morning to drive people out but they couldn’t due to the constant shelling and heavy fog.
But we are still trying …
On the way back again after midnight, we stayed waiting for the early morning near the city of Maarat al-Numan to arrive in a short time to get the families who are waiting for us and those who spoke with us and send us their locations saying hurry please ….
For God’s sake, we cannot go home and there is no safe place to sleep or stay. Some of us are in the destroyed buildings
“As one person says, maybe you will find us, maybe it will be too late to help us.
But please, please, If we die and our children survive, don’t put them in a cold tent. We have stayed in our home after all years and all these shelling so we won’t have to live in a tent or leave our house?”
And we thought the bombing will not be heavy like the last hours, maybe less, and now we are on the way, blowing our hands inside the car, to feel a little warm, looking at each other, maybe we will not go back, maybe we will lose somebody ..
We have no problem ….
There are those waiting for us .. the voices that come through the messages .. hurry up it help us to forget the fear that has become in the past ..
We joined the cars on the highway, fog started to cloud, and the traffic was increasing more and more. Our speed eased, and here are the sounds of ambulances coming through the fog, the sound of a loud alarm, and we see the faces of the people as they drive away the cars that are forcibly leaving, loaded with children and women and a little clothes and few stuff who were able to carry with them …
Where no one can speed, there are fog, ambulances and many cars. The number of people who have been forcibly escaped from death are many, big as their worries and their sadness. She asks me how is the situation of those who turn to the unknown … ?????
After a long wait, other ambulances came behind us, and we were lucky that we were in another way and one way, where the arrivals were much more than those who went.
We have reached the entrance to the city on the highway. We hear the shelling that will be less at these times. There are a few people waiting too, and they say if you want to die, enter now, but we cannot, because we must remain safe to accompany the families waiting for us ….
Through the walkie talkie grips, repeated calls to rescue them and ambulances are continuing … and people say the neighborhoods that are under constant bombardment no one can enter directly to save them.We can hear the sounds, the shelling and the flames of the fire that does not stop not that far away from where we are waiting.
We start looking for the internet to see if the families are ok and ready in the same places or if they are badly injured … we are late for our appointment due to the conditions that get worse
We got on an internet connection … there is no new news from the families they we are heading to.
But there are a lot of new people that want help with the evacuation and the other part of our team is preparing to go to them, who were also set a time to meet with us … We did not receive anything new from them, perhaps because of the bombing that was happening cut off the Internet, which is through the central independent small-range networks.
But one of our team received a message from his mother. He was late and he in a hurry leaving his house that he didn’t say goodbye to his mother, when we went to pick him. The message says, my son, my love, you promised me to come back, do not hurt my heart, like your father and your brother did…..
After a long wait, as the bombing has almost changed its target location, walkie talkie grips say that warplanes are preparing to carry out another attacks on new various locations …..
We were able to enter the city.
As if we were in another place where we were here half a day ago, but new buildings were destroyed and its bricks and rubble spread across the roads and piled on top of each other ..
Each of us was praying silently that people are safe and be able to evacuate them. Our colleague who received his mother message could not respond to her again because we lost the internet connection and didnt know what to say to her
We drove on roads that we know very well at top speed as first , but we reduced the speed due to another shelling that hit near us and houses in front of us were destroyed. Seconds later, the sound of the after shelling stopped. We checked the car and ourselves that we are ok. We reached the gathering point, where the first family were waiting for us, seven people (two women, four children and a young man who lost his leg).
They had a small bottle of water, two bags, and an artificial leg
We rushed to move them; the children were in a big shock. Are you going to take us to our home? Where are you taking us? There is no bombing now, right? And the mother tells them just pry my sweet children.
We reached the other location next to the cemetery, looking, screaming, and asking people that did not sleep and had hope after everything that was happening and saying we have no other choice and we must not move away from our land, we do not want to go out, we die here as we lived here, we continued the search but we did not find anyone yet.
After a few minutes … a member of the family came out from the graveyard wall and said we are here, sorry we were late…….
We did not ask what are you doing there, we walked between the graves. they were five people, two children, a woman, and two men who carried their belongings.
We start moving in our car comes, we had some water, bread, and juice. No one wanted to eat anything until we assure them that we got out of the city ………
But the children could not handle not eating, they took they water and juice … and their innocent eyes full of fear, panic and anxiety
We came back from the same road that we came from. We heard someone talking over the walkie talkie grips, we couldn’t understand what he was saying due to the Jamming sounds
We followed the path to get out of the city, the shelling sounds and the flights were still going on, even when the morning light appeared
When we entered the city, we were 3 cars, each heading to a location to evacuate more families.
We did not see anyone from our team when we left. We followed the path in silence, hearing whispers praying from everyone.
Please God, save us, Please God, save us
The man who came out of the cemetery began saying goodbye our house, goodbye our streets.
He says I’m lucky we were in a graveyard and I said goodbye to my mother, my father and my brother
And with these emotional words, everyone’s eyes were full with tears.
I am sorry for my country, I am sorry for my land, and I am sorry for my home
Unbearable injustice, where is humanity?
We have no one but God.
Yes, there is no place to sleep, nor a safe place to move. This is what happened with us through one car that went to evacuate people from the city of Maarat al-Numan to a safe place.