Syria-Turkey earthquake: The Syrian who rescued his fiancée from the ruins

At the Bab al-Hawa Turkish-Syrian border crossing, Aysha Moarri bids her daughter Shirin farewell

On the back of a lorry, Aysha Moarri, 45, can be seen sobbing and holding a white, quilted body bag.

You were the only reason I managed to stay alive, so how are you leaving me behind? Now how am I going to breathe?".

Inside is her daughter. Five additional family members' bodies can be seen next to hers.

At the Bab al-Hawa border crossing between southern Turkey and northwestern Syria, which is controlled by the opposition, it's another chilly sunny afternoon.

Families of Syrian refugees who lost loved ones in the quake that struck southern Turkey last week have gathered there to assist in the repatriation of their bodies.

Death's ominous odor permeates the area around us.

The six-story apartment building they were residing in collapsed, leaving only Aysha, her husband Nouman, and their four-year-old granddaughter Elma standing. .

In addition to losing their son-in-law, Aysha and Nouman also suffered the loss of two daughters, one son, and two granddaughters.

In search of a new beginning, the family fled the Syrian civil war eight years ago and sought refuge in Antakya, in southern Turkey. With more than half of its structures damaged, the city is currently in ruins.

To ensure their ability to be recognized once they return home, the names of each Syrian victim brought to Bab al-Hawa are written on the body bags with a blue pen.

"Take care of one another. My dear Shirin, look after your siblings and my cherished grandchildren," Aysha says as she kisses her daughter's body through the white cloth.

As the lorry starts to move away, her fingers continue to cling to it, clearly unwilling to let go.

At the sight of the truck crossing the border, her husband sobs openly.

"Goodbye, my love. You'll all return home. With a wave of his bandaged hand, Nouman declares, "You will be together.

Five more lorries carrying Syrian bodies found under the rubble arrive at the border the following morning. Others lack body bags and are merely wrapped in blankets.

Two glass pomegranates are sitting unbroken on a shelf amid the rubble of the Moarri family's apartment in Antakya. Over the table, a painting is still hanging. The rest of the space has fallen to pieces.

The middle daughter of Aysha, Viam, was engaged to Ali, who continues to sift through the debris while donning a high-visibility vest.

He leads us to the location of Viam's body. Even though they had been together for four years, he hadn't convinced her father to approve of their engagement until one week prior to the earthquake.

Ali, a Syrian, stands in front of collapsed buildings in Antakya, Turkey
Viam's Antakya apartment building collapsed, and Ali had to dig her out of the debris.

We continued to WhatsApp text each other until late that night. We couldn't sleep, he claims.

He received a text message from Viam at around 4:00 am asking if he was awake after having a strange nightmare.

The earth began to tremble while they were on a video call.

"I had just been telling her not to think about that nightmare. We declared our love for one another after that. Ali remembers, fighting hard not to cry, "She was sitting on her bed and laughing softly.

She was attempting to run when I saw her, but she was hindered by the weight of her phone on the wall. The image then became frozen. The display turned off. " .

Ali was able to defend himself by slinking under the table in his room. Ali is a fitness instructor with experience in combat training with the armed opposition in Syria.

"I escaped as soon as the earthquake was over. It completely destroyed our neighborhood.

"I'm not sure how I got to the street where she [Viam] lived. Because all the roads were closed, it took me twice as long. ".

A impromptu rescue effort set up by neighbors was already underway when he arrived at the apartment building. To join them, he invited friends. No official assistance arrived for hours.

Ali claims that because he and his friends are from parts of Syria that the Syrian government has frequently bombed during the conflict, they have already received some training and experience in search and rescue operations. Syrians must aid fellow Syrians, he continues. .

The Syrian government controls a portion of the expansive region of northwest Syria that was affected by the earthquake. Armed opposition forces control a different region, where the Moarri family is from.

Involving numerous parties to the conflict, the nations that support them, and international humanitarian organizations, the coordination of the rescue and aid operations has therefore been extremely difficult.

Ali feels bitter toward the international community and claims that strong nations are using Syria as a theater for larger conflicts, which is hurting the Syrian people.

"Thank God that Turkey is a strong nation itself, as the entire world came to help Turkey. Syria, though, is a concern.

"I don't want to discuss politics, but from a humanitarian standpoint, we lack homes, clean water, electricity, and other basic necessities. " .

The war and now the earthquake have destroyed our homes, he continued. We undoubtedly accept anything that is from God. But I should stop and tell everyone, enough. ".

Nouman is held back by Ali at the Bab al-Hawa border crossing
Ali holds Nouman back so he won't follow the lorry carrying his daughter's body.

Ali discovered Viam's body after eight days of searching. She passed away while hugging her brother Mohammed.

With the help of 15 other Syrians, Ali is currently seeking out additional Syrian families.

They have a fine dusting of concrete. We have grey hair and gritted eyes because it is so prevalent here.

More than 2,306 bodies were transported into Syria during the first 10 days following the earthquake, according to Turkish authorities.

It was a sizable operation for the Turkish border police, and one that was difficult to coordinate, they tell us. Sometimes, though, the other side is not prepared to receive the bodies even though they are ready to send them. The situation can also be reversed.

We spot a man holding his three-week-old baby's body, which is covered in a small blanket, as we get ready to leave. He is requesting assistance to return her body to their residence in an area of Idlib Province that is controlled by the opposition.

He had pulled his daughter from the ruins and transported her to Turkey for medical attention across the border. But she didn't make it.

Ten days after the earthquake, the Moarri family located the last person they were looking for: the body of their son-in-law. .

I question Ali as to why the Syrian refugees are returning their loved ones' remains to Syria.

It's our house. It is where we continue to harbor dreams of returning someday. We want our loved ones to be there waiting for us.

. "

Source link

You've successfully subscribed to Webosor
Great! Next, complete checkout to get full access to all premium content.
Welcome back! You've successfully signed in.
Unable to sign you in. Please try again.
Success! Your account is fully activated, you now have access to all content.
Error! Stripe checkout failed.
Success! Your billing info is updated.
Billing info update failed.