Sunday, February 19, 2012

Syria: ‘The man they were shooting at is actually my husband’

By Maha Abu Shama, Amnesty International’s Syria campaigner

".....Then, dispassionately and almost as if recounting someone else’s story, they told me that another of their brothers was killed just a week ago.
“He was an activist and was on the run for a few months. The tanks stormed into our village around a week ago and we heard that he was caught off guard so had to rush to one of the houses to hide. They followed him and shot him dead in front of a teenage girl who lived there. We heard that ever since [that,] she lost her ability to speak as a result of the shock.”
They went on to say that in addition to their brother, seven other people were killed in one week. I asked whether they knew their names, and they rattled off a couple. Were they all men? Only then did they remember that a woman was also shot while putting out her laundry on the roof. Even in death, it seems, a woman’s story is an afterthought.
The women explained how they had been in Damascus when all this happened, having left Tseel around two months ago. All of their husbands are on the run and they have not seen them in months.
“One day before we left Tseel I was looking out from the window and saw security forces chasing a man in the farms near the village. They were shooting at him and I thought no doubt they would kill him. When I looked closely I realised that that man was actually my husband. Thank god he managed to escape,” said the young mother I spoke to first....

They explained how they had left Syria in the dead of night, walking for miles with their children before crawling on their bellies into Jordan to avoid being spotted by the Syrian border security.
“We had to leave Damascus for Jordan because our husbands are on the run. If they do not catch the activists they would eventually go after their families,” they told me......"

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