Forced to leave behind her son to save her little girl
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.”