Our Syrian Reportage : the Anti Isil coalition effects


It’ s what people  call  "Valley of the fountains"  for 360 ones  are there. Or  to be fair all shed  tears from the families here resident in  would better explain such a name.  It is one of the places paying the highest toll during this war. 

Across  softened hills of olive trees and pomegranates,  we get to our destination. A simple metal door separates the sunny road along the valley into “an ocean of pain”. Nidal and Kifah are longing for  us. They are friendly but their apparent calm  comes after  some storming  feelings.

 There is  no a greater pain than losing a son. They have lost their only son. Ayham was a young lieutenant, 24 years  aged , in Deir Ezzor:  he was  one of the "fallen in service  for a mistake" under the American bombs (others participated though ...)

He was deployed eight months in the city, assigned to a  400 men ‘s unit. On 18th  September , 84 of them according to official sources were killed by the so-called anti Isis Coalition’ s airplanes. His  body returned to his family with clear shots of machine-gun fire:  a F-16. According to some witnesses, the prolonged action was preceded by a release of at high altitude ordnances.

 His  father indicates a photo up to the wall,  next to his son’s one. It is his brother ‘s one, the uncle of Ayham, Jihad, a general army killed by the Kurds with five gunshots one month before in  Al Hasakah, 60 km north of Deir Ezzor. For scarring his body was returned five days after.

They used to keep in touch frequently. Knowing the scarcity of stocks in Deir Ezzor, the general was sending part of their rations to his nephew.

Not far from the Iraqi border, Deir ez-Zor is virtually a fortress on the Euphrates in the desert and nothingness media. An incredible silence of the media who ignore a few thousand men who resists for years to beasts damned  and ferocious. What ‘s has been called up to now "Caliphate" is nothing but a gang of murderers as there are others by different names, more or less presentable. Thanks to the direct and indirect support  of  the United States , they ravaged and torn this country: it is an inconvenient truth, but real and angry,  in the pain of many gracious and innocent  families.

In this tight and severe narrative a  voice misses, the mother’s one.  She listened to all the time with great restraint, but it is a dam about overflowing . A few times she seemed wanting timidly intervene. We ask her to talk. 

"Ayham used to be a boy unable to kill the smallest insect , too sweet  soul ...", tells Kifah. "He was my only son  and my best friend, too,  my confidant. We kept in touch every and each day and he always tried to reassure me ... "

The tears take over and touches her, his father continued.

"last phone call was peculiar. He was worried and asked to forgive him whether  he  did something wrong.  It wasn’t certainly needed for how good he used to be. Two hours later he was killed ".

We, too, grow moved. The simplicity and dignity of these people makes us feel smaller and spoiled. We keep silent for a few minutes in front of a simple cup of tea. Time is beat by grains of prayer doth necklaces through his  fingers... 

A picture stands in the hall, there is the Syrian president’s father, Hafez al Assad, the "lion" of Damascus, he  had been  “Syria in person”  for  30 years.  We wonder if with him  things would be better to go now  "Every age  has got its point man. Today the president is Bashar and I respect him. What ‘s happening, it isn’t his fault”

Then we  ask to Ayham’s  father if he could which  miracle would perform. He whispers and thinks about his son. Then he holds back the tears and says proudly throughout  arab .

“I would hold  Syria back the years, when it was a peaceful and prosperous country: I can’ t figure out  what happened, yet ... "

Not far from the house, down a path in the middle of olive trees from the biblical flavor, there is the  Ayham‘s grave. It is a simple and particular place. Silence and a sweet smell of autumn inebriates us. The war  roar can’t reach us here. The numbers, the calculations, the policy, can’t reach  too but only the pain. Kifah cries like a mother. Nowadays his son is a marble slab, a few steps from their house. A gust of wind from the valley rises. A sense of the absurd and contagious vacuum fills us apart. You can’t find a reason to this. 

Text: Giampiero Venturi, Andrea Cucco

Images: Giorgio Bianchi

Translation: Maria Grazia Labellarte