It is the journey of looking for a cave where Syrians are said to hide from rockets and missiles.
The weather is very bad. It has been raining for at least 24 hours. Roads are covered with mud, life has become very difficult in Syria.
Al Arabiya correspondent Rima Maktabi was able to find a cave that was used as a shelter to three families who fled their towns seeking safety. This cave has become the only shelter for three families for almost a month. Here, we found the family of Abu Mohamed, his grandchildren, and neighbors.
Despair is showing on their faces and they are obviously embarrassed for having to receive us in the cave.
Abu Mohamed said the destruction that happened to the country as a result of the regime’s brutal attacks reversed Syria to more than 50 years back.
“We are now living in caves once again. Our grandfathers used to tell us they lived in caves; I never had such experience,” said Abu Mohamed.
“Before the conflict, nobody would have ever dare to come to this cave. People would be afraid. Now, we have to stay here to save our lives.”
He said the regime doesn’t know any limit and doesn’t make acknowledgements to holy places such as mosques or churches.
“They destroyed mosques. They destroyed churches. They desecrated holy places. What are we left with in Syria?”
Abu Mohamed made a call to the world through Al Arabiya asking for aid to help obtain the laughs and joy of the Syrian children once more.
“They are deprived of laughter, deprived of play, even education… they have been deprived of education for the past two years. I call upon the world to look at us with mercy and compassion.”
Amongst the kids hiding inside the cave is Ahmed who was hit by a missile when he was playing in a garden a few days ago.
Thirteen-year-old Safwan hopes to go back to normal life one day.
“We are sitting here. Every time we go out to play, missiles are fired. Some children were injured. We are grounded here. We want to play but we wouldn’t dare. We haven’t been to school for two years. We wish Bashar would be toppled so we can go to school. When this happens, we will be better off. We won’t have to live in caves and we will have everything. The cave is small. It is under the ground. Sometimes we are too many we can’t breathe. We want to play and be happy. We miss school,” Safwan said.
But before play and school comes food. Even bread crumbs are scarce here. But Um Mohamed has her ways of conquering hunger. Between one missile and the other, she makes a meal from whatever is available.
Living in this small cave is very hard, but it is only hope that gives space. This seems to be the motto Syrians have lately been adopting, for they are left with nothing except for hope.
Now, Syrians are back to the life of caves. It is very hard for this camera to convey the amount of suffering they go through or even the freezing cold we are feeling now. However, these shots might show the day-to-day life of Syria.