« You can’t separate peace from freedom, because no one can be at peace unless he has his freedom. »

Hello my friends,

Perhaps some of you wonder who I am and how life was under siege in Douma, in the Eastern Ghouta of Damascus. I was 15 old when the Syrian revolution broke out in Daraa, Homs, and Damascus countryside. The people were excited to demonstrate, support Daraa and stand up against the Assad government. Every day there was a demonstration in different areas of the city and the security forces were confronting us and arresting those they managed to catch. Every Friday in particular there was a very big demonstration at the big Mosque in Douma. The demonstrators were dispersed, injured and sometimes killed even though the demonstrations were quite peaceful.

A few months later, defections began in the ranks of Assad’s forces, rejecting the regime forces’ actions to kill demonstrators, and armed individuals began to protect demonstrations from attacks by Assad’s security forces. In the meantime, a decision was made by the Assad regime to release political prisoners. The Assad regime knew very well that they would stand against the regime militarily.  

 The regime soon became more brutal and, as the protests spread, the regime killed hundreds of demonstrators. As a consequence several armed factions were formed in Douma, these had popular support. Several factions were quickly formed to fight against the regime after hundreds of deaths in the demonstrations. At each demonstration there was a popular support for the FSa.  

Douma 2011

The situation in the city soon became dire and institutions stopped working. In mid-2012, the city was completely cut off the electricity. The Assad regime has cut an electricity.

Picture AFP ©️

 I was with my father in the farm one day when I heard the first time a mortar shell with the helicopter flying and shelling a farm on the outskirts in the suburbs of Douma; I could not stop shaking when I heard this. I was in a situation of fear that I had never experienced. The next day we heard from people that attack was on the headquarters of a Free Army faction. It will never forget that night.  

After these clashes, there were constant warplanes and shelling on the headquarters of the Free Army and civilian gatherings.

On December 2012 I lost my father when he went to buy some items from the town of Rihan, adjacent to the city of Douma near our farm; we looked for him everywhere and did not find him. After the fsa has clean the area of Assad militias, we entered al Rihan to look for my father and we found him killed by regime forces. And they were burned body and cut his leg. The soldier of Assad army which kill my father was killed on the hand of fsa and they look on his phone then they find painful video after many days of my father death. Saying in video “look the terrorist, we kill him!” in that time I can’t see the video never in my life. 

After my father was killed and I worked in the farm tending my father’s cows to support my mother and my little sister. I was too young for this work on my own were I had 16 years old. My cousin came to help me work on the farm just three months later he was killed by a missile fall near him it open his head..

Taking over arge areas of Eastern Ghouta by FSA , regime forces began tightening the siege on Eastern Ghouta as the only weapon to halt the military progress made by the FSA. People did not feel the siege at the beginning but almost three months later, they started to run out of flour and basic foodstuffs and the price of food began to rise steeply and people could not afford the high prices. We were not poor but we, and all the people in Ghouta had to eat cattle and barley feed to overcome the famine because it’s only the food available. It was sad to see people looking in the garbage for something to eat. 

A girl ask for eat ,Douma, February 2018.

At same time the smell of was death everywhere. I felt helpless when I saw the wounded in front of my eyes bleeding and could not stop it. My niece was only 6 years old when she lost her leg at school by a cluster-bomb shelling and her cousin was killed while they were holding their hands together going to home it were massacre at school in that day almost 30 children were killed. My niece still suffering until this moment. 

Every single family endured at least one tragedy.  

The FSA tried to advance towards Assad’s forces from the east of Eastern Ghouta – but to no avail, all these attempts failed. The situation worsened; there was increased poverty and hunger. At that time there were no humanitarian organizations or well-equipped medical care able to cope with the heavy bombardment from the regime’s warplanes. And every day people were displaced from an area to other because of the intensity of the bombing …. This was how we lived for 6 years.  
There was no fuel from outside the siege so we had to extract fuel by burning plastic and refining it in local burners. This caused a lot of smoke and the process also caused the death of many people – the plastic was dissolved in the barrels and this caused high pressure, resulting sometimes in the barrels exploding. The price per liter of plastic gasoline was about $ 5, at least were living even if the conditions were terrible.

Douma, 2017, Reuters pic©️ Residents of Syria’s beseiged Douma are making fuel from plastic waste

But death was always around us. This is in terms of living but from another perspective death all over With every air strike we heard screams all around. I remember in March 2018 where it was a lot of shelling non stop in was in front of the shelter’s door I saw helicopter in over me and I saw something falling I looked in front of to see our neighbors I screaming with all my voice.” go shelter” 5 second after I was in the middle of the stairs The pressure of the explosion pushed me down. It was very near me and I took photos of that’s airstrike. 

people had only two options – either staying in shelters or going out to work under shelling to earn an income of not more than $ 2 a day as a farmworker. With few job opportunities, working in farms was one of the few available jobs.  

I lost so very many of my loved ones. Every day I heard the news of a friend’s death. Normal death had become a strange thing! I survived of death dozens of times, quite miraculously.  

I never thought I would leave Syria but I was forced to leave. Five months before I left Douma to the north of Syria I worked as a media activist and I do not join any media. I was an independent activist who spoke little English but with practice and learning I was well able to master English and I started to share on my accounts Twitter at the beginning of 2018. I did not imagine that any foreigners would care about what happening in Syria. 

I shared for more people to see what happened to us in Syria. It was too late. But I did cover the recent campaign on the city of Douma in March until the evacuation with poor access due the complete disruption of the Internet.  
There was no life for me. Just guns, fires and explosions. I was in touch with my French girlfriend and she was sending me patience and love. I wish I had left as soon as I could. I was tired of this situation and although it was very difficult to leave my family behind me I really had no other choice. I decided to go to France.

The last days in Douma. 2018

The evacuation was on April 4, 2018 to the city of Azaz in the northern countryside of Aleppo. The people there were welcoming but I didn’t want to wait anymore. I tried to cross into Turkey through smuggling routes but I hasn’t success. I was arrested by the Turkish border guards and humiliated and insulted. However, I did not give up and I tried again and succeeded. I will not give too many details for obvious reasons! 

My tent, in Azaz.

Immediately after entering the Turkish territory I submitted a request for protection to the French Consulate in Istanbul. I received a quick response for an interview and to carry out the procedures, but I was shocked after a month and a half to receive an email saying , “We are sorry to inform you that the French authorities do not accept your request for protection.” I felt so shocked and helpless that even though I had endured all these tragedies I still have no right to live a normal life peacefully away from the atmosphere of war. I do not even have the right to register under the temporary protection system in Istanbul, but I found a smuggler who took Syrian people to register in different states in Turkey, this was expensive but it is better than staying without papers.

I am working without permission in a clothing factory in Istanbul. I do not have the right to work or to stay in the city. I was hoping to leave Turkey after I met James Le Mesurier a month ago, he was a great man and promised to help me. My last contact with him was two days before he died. My only choice now is to take the way by sea. I am seeing a little light far but I don’t know if I am going to get it. 

I am planning my travel to reach my freedom. I know the risk, but I want to live as you, a normal life. Basic things like to feel at home, so hard to be like a prisoner and to be alone.
If you want help me , this is 2 links . I am very grateful to people who will participate and help me to reach my dream.

Please don’t give up. Fight for freedom, fight for human rights.
Thank you very much for your unconditional support, and your friendship.

Ahmad .

This is me, in the dark cellars where we lived for almost 4 months, me and my neighborhood, including many children

nb: if you wonder why I do not show myself completely, it is a security, to protect my family, who is still in Syria. If one day you see me fully, it will be the day that Assad will be fallen.

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