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South Syria: In a village battered by war, one family´s decision to return

11 Apr 2017

The village of Al Nuaymah was once home to about 10,000 people in South Syria. During the past six years of war, the village has been badly damaged by airstrikes. Many live in buildings that are in ruin, or tents pitched on the land. Often, several families share one home. As the needs in the area grow, and the conflict continues, Médecins Sans Frontières distributed 893 kits of essential relief items. Mohammed Ali Aboud and his family received one of the kits. He spoke about his family´s plight and the daily difficulties they endure. 

“There are 21 people in my family, including my grandchildren. We are originally from Al Nuaymah. In 2014 the fighting in our village became very bad so we left for Busra and stayed for 3 months. We came back to Al Nuayma when we believed things had calmed down. We were wrong. My wife and three of my sons were killed in July 2015 by a barrel bomb. In Al Nuaymah there are frequent airstrikes. We can only move safely to two other towns, Um al Mayathen and Saideh, but beyond that, villages are under regime control. The children have not gone to school in three years. There is no school in the village. 

"My family lives in our old house. It used to have four rooms, but it was destroyed by the bombing. Now there is one room left"

We depend entirely on aid we receive from humanitarian organizations. We receive milk, flour, rice and bulgur. We wish there was baby formula, because some children in my family are young, just 8 months old. There is no electricity here. There is some gasoline available but it is too expensive and I cannot afford it. We have an open fire. Over the winter, I burned the bedroom furniture and two olive trees near the house as it’s difficult to find wood. It is difficult to cook rice and bulgur without fire. The water comes from artisanal wells, drilled by local activists. My family lives in our old house. It used to have four rooms, but it was destroyed by the bombing. Now there is one room left. My son and I stay in this room. The rest of the family live in two tents outside the house. 

We received a relief kit and now we have blankets, mattresses, hygiene items and some kitchen tools. It makes a big difference. We need any help that any organization can offer. There are no doctors in the town and a great need for medicine. There is only one nurse, who can help with a headache or stomach ache. My grandchildren are very young, and need to see a doctor, because they are often sick and the nearest clinic is 30 kilometers away. One of my sons suffered a head wound, from a barrel bomb but hasn’t received treatment. As for the future, we have lost all hope. We hope also that one day in the coming months that there will be a solution to this conflict, but we doubt it.”