Abu Adel - "Syria is burning! " Syrian Refugee Narratives

May 30, 2013

Abu Adel - "Syria is burning! "  Syrian Refugee Narratives © Enass Abu Khalaf-Tuffaha

My name is Abu Adel. I am 43 years old, from Damascus city, and a father of seven children. I was injured on the 1st of November 2012. But before I tell my story or say a single word, I need to say, Syria is burning! Civilians in Syria are being targeted by a merciless killing machine. There is no distinction between fighters and non fighters or between children, women and men.

The attack happened while I was at home sleeping with my children. All of a sudden, a military helicopter shooter fired an explosive tank next to our house. As we live on the first floor, the damage was huge and our entire home was destroyed. I almost lost my arm due to so many shrapnel wounds. Only a miracle from God saved my family. They all escaped this bombing without any physical injury but they were terrified!

I was transferred to a field hospital at 1:30am. I was bleeding so heavily and they didn’t have the equipment to help me so some neighbors took me to a public hospital in Damascus, where I had a quick operation to stop the bleeding in my arm. One hour after my surgery, a doctor came to me saying, “It’s better for your safety to leave the hospital. If you stay here, you will be arrested or even killed by the Syrian army.” So I left the hospital immediately and went back home. I stayed at home for a month without any surgery follow-up and with pain in every breath I took.

I managed to cross the border to Jordan with my family one month after my injury. After a risky journey, we made it to Jordan, arriving on December 6th, 2012. Upon arrival at Zaatari camp, I managed to get some treatment through some hospitals both inside and outside the camp but the care was very basic. They just cleaned the wound and applied dressing under general anesthesia. One day, an MSF doctor was visiting the camp and checked me. He said that MSF could help and so I was admitted to the MSF hospital in Amman.

My family lives in Zaatari camp, all of them (seven children and their mother) and I live in Amman to receive treatment. I don’t need to say how difficult the living conditions here are. I only manage to visit my family once every two or three weeks. I go there to check on them and see how I can help. Although I can’t do much, I try to support them at least with my presence. My family totally understands that it’s easier for me to stay in Amman while receiving the treatment by MSF, however, it is a burden for all of us.

My wife is sick, one day she got very sick while we were in Zaatari and she had go to hospital. We had to wait for two hours before an ambulance arrived. I worry about my family all the time and I think of them especially when the weather is very cold, and I ask myself, do they feel warm? Did they get more blankets?

MSF is a second family for me and my children. While I am being treated by MSF teams in Amman hospital, another MSF team looks after my children in Zaatari refugee camp.

So far, I have had five surgical operations, including the removal of shrapnel, skin and bone grafts, as well as removal of external fixation. My health has definitely improved and I feel blessed to be accepted for treatment with MSF.

In my former life, I used to be a butcher in Damascus. I owned a shop and business was good. Since the security situation deteriorated in Syria, my shop was closed and I couldn’t provide for my children, so I stayed at home without work for more than a year.

I come to the MSF outpatients department in Amman once or twice a week for dressing or if I need some medication or for blood analysis. I am very optimistic that my arm will be cured and that one I will join my family in Zaatari camp.”

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