Good morning. My name is Mayson Almisri. I am from Daraa, which was the birthplace for the revolution in Syria.
Frankly speaking, there are many tragedies and memories of horrific tragedies, but this morning I felt tremendously afraid. I wanted to turn on the telephone, but I was wondering whether I was going to hear about somebody who had been martyred. I personally lost nine members of my family—siblings, nephews, nieces—about 50 individuals in terms of cousins and other relatives.
The situation in Daraa is that more than 95% of the place has been destroyed. The infrastructure is not there. We are forced to drink from the wells. There is no electricity; we depend on solar energy and simple generators.
We have a huge medical problem. If somebody requires surgery or axial tomographies, there are no facilities. People could die because of the lack of such medical facilities.
We had 19 people dead in the year 2013. There were so many crimes that affect people, but that particular one touched on my own brother. He came from the farm. There was shooting in Daraa, and there was a ban on movement, a curfew. When they came from the farm, there were no communications. As soon as they got into the residential area, he was targeted by a sniper and he was killed. The bullet went through his back and ended up in the body of my nephew.
This is the kind of personal tragedy that is so difficult. My brother was very close to my mother, and his daughter was there. It was so difficult to provide any first aid for him or to take him to the hospital. These facilities also get targeted. The last picture that we have of him was just before he breathed his last, and the screaming. We were unable to help him. We had nothing to do; we were able to do nothing.
The suffering continued with the targeting of our homes. We had to be displaced; we had to go to the farms. I lost another brother, and nephews and nieces. I am not married, but I have responsibilities towards at least 10 children who are fatherless and motherless. We have to protect them. There is no education. There are no secure places.
Yesterday I was talking to my brother, asking him about the situation. He said, “I don't know what to tell you; I don't know where to go.”
Ghouta is basically completely finished. People are simply watching. We don't know about our destiny; we don't know what's going to happen. I'm here in body, but in spirit I am with my family. I'll be back in a few days in Daraa. I don't know what awaits me there, whether I'm going to meet my family, whether we are going to be able to live, or whether we will just die at any moment. There is no future for us; we don't know what's going to happen. I don't know my destiny or my family's destiny.
There are so many crimes that are hard to describe. When you see a barrel bomb that's landing from a plane, you don't know what to do. What are the options: to run away, run for your life?
I remember one time I was coming back from the civil defence—from my work—and a barrel was dropped. I had the option to try to run away, but I decided to stay with my family and not to leave them and flee. Whether we live together or die together, we will stick together. That's what we're talking about. There is no protection when you see the rockets and the barrels that are getting dropped.
We have seen horrific things. We've seen parts of the bodies of children, and sometimes there is nothing left of those bodies. Sometimes we had to walk, only to realize that we were stepping on human remains and blood. We have no homes, no basic life necessities, and no security, and it's an ongoing situation.
We tell our children, “Well, tomorrow the war will come to an end.” We just tell them that. We tell them the criminals will be tried, but we know, inside ourselves, that there is no hope. Sometimes we don't even have food supplies. We lived through a siege in which we had to give up our own food in order to make sure the children had food. In Daraa we were relatively better off than other places that suffered through sieges, but we realize there is more punishment awaiting us, and, frankly speaking, we do not want to leave our country.
Before joining the civil defence I used to be a journalist at SANA, an official news agency that speaks in the name of the Syrian government, but I could not continue with this kind of work. The Syrian media forced us to twist the facts, to deny that there was a revolution and to say that this was just terrorism. In fact, we saw educated people, including women and children, who were part of the demand for freedom. Basically, we wanted our country to deserve the name “Syria”, but I don't know. The war we are faced with is just beyond imagination. We don't deserve this kind of punishment. All we wanted was freedom. All we wanted were the essential elements of life.
Yesterday, when I came to Parliament, I wept. I thought, “How come we are deprived of such places, of such facilities?” Parliament should represent people and be there for people, but unfortunately, this is our situation.
I remember always.... I wish I had better memories, but my memories are so painful. Even if there is food, we don't have the appetite. We are not able to fall asleep. When you look into the eyes of the children and you're unable to protect them, how do you feel about this? It's a horrific, unknown destiny. We're here today, but we don't know if we're going to be alive tomorrow.
I'm talking to people, not governments. It's my desire that people not forget the Syrian people who are being subjected to extermination by various weapons. I'm sure the killers will not be punished in the future, but we hope that there are certain parties that will hold the criminals responsible. We have lost our trust in our justice system.