“This is my mother and this is our house…what happened?” These were the words of Abd al-Razaq in a post on a facebook page for the Homs countryside community when he saw a picture of the ruins of his own house posted on the page. The house had been when the city of Rastan city was bombarded on Thursday, inflicting large numbers of civilian injuries in addition to destroying three storefronts and four houses, among them the house of Abd al-Razaq’s mother.
Abd al-Razaq wrote the country from the European country he now resides in. He left Syria for Europe, via Turkey, to seek treatment for eye and foot injuries sustained in a battle between the armed opposition and Syrian army in Rastan. In doing so, he had to leave his mother and siblings in danger of regime bombing.
In a conversation with the Syrian Voice’s correspondent, Abd al-Razaq said “I can’t move much, but after seeing this video all I think about is going back to Syria, even if I had to walk on my injured foot, to check on my mother and siblings.”
Abd al-Razaq saw the video of his destroyed house after activists from the Rastan Media Office rushed to the site of the strikes to document the injuries and damage, in order to convey the city’s suffering to the rest of the world.
Ali Izz al-Din, the man who took the video, recounted to the Syrian Voice, what happened.
“I got to the site of the strike and found a woman sitting on the wreckage of her house. She asked me to record her to send a message to the world to let them know that she had lost everything. She asked ‘where will I go, where will I sleep? I’ve lost everything, even my house!’”
It was a tough situation for Ali, who could only stand, unable to help in front of the scene, not knowing how to help besides through his camera and facebook page.
Razaq had been been following what was happening on in Rastan from Europe via local community Facebook pages, keeping him connected to the often bloody news from his hometown.
A local Syrian Voice correspondent contacted Abd al-Razaq after he posted his comment to let him know that his mother was ok, sending him voice recordings. The correspondent also told him that although the greater part of the house was destroyed, no one had been hurt.
Of course, Abd al-Razaq’s story is not unique. The grim circumstances of the war have forced many to flee, leaving their homeland, thus relying on social media to get news from their home towns and cities. They scour the lists of the names of injured closely, hoping not to see anyone they know. Social media is sometimes even the only know what is happening with their family.
Previously, in Aleppo, a father learned of his son’s death in another air raid through a social media page. He commented on the page in shock mourning his son.
Rastan has been subjected to regime bombardment throughout the last five years. Regime bombs have destroyed nearly 80% of the city’s houses. Because of the bombings and the resultant lack of medical care, many residents have died as well.