Forced to leave be­hind her son to save her lit­tle girl

Friday - - Society -

In Howla, in the Syr­ian prov­ince of Homs, Bachra re­mem­bers the chill­ing sound as houses in her vil­lage were taken over by Shabiha, the groups of armed men who act in sup­port of As­sad forces. She ran to her old­est son, 23-year-old Ziad who lay with his leg in plas­ter. “Hurry,” she said try­ing to lift him while her nine-year-old daugh­ter clung to her abaya. “No mother,” he replied. “Take her and run now be­fore it’s too late. What­ever hap­pens I’m go­ing to die, you go; I will only slow you down.”

The sound of her hus­band, son-in-law and son be­ing bru­tally mur­dered filled the air be­hind her as she man­aged to hail a taxi. She was ter­ri­fied, yet for the sake of her daugh­ter forced a smile at each mil­i­tary check­point say­ing she was sim­ply vis­it­ing rel­a­tives.

She says of Ziad, “I loved him so much. Call it ma­ter­nal instinct but I knew the night be­fore I had to say good­bye. I felt he was go­ing to die. I was help­ing him in the bath with his bro­ken leg. I took him in my arms and said, “I don’t want to lose you.” I just knew it was go­ing to be the last time I saw him. At least I had good­bye.”

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