The tough life in Syria
A personal account of a mother who lost her husband and two of her children
(Names changed to protect identities)
“Life in Syria has been a nightmare. Airplanes constantly flew over our house and bombs were thrown at us several times. It was no longer possible to live there, and we wanted to escape. The night before our escape, two rockets fell into our house when we were asleep. I could not see anything when I opened my eyes. It was dark and dusty everywhere. It was ringing in my ears, so I could barely hear the cries of my children. When the fog in my eyes began to dissipate, I saw that the wall pressed down my leg. My bone was shattered into small pieces, but I endured to save my children.
When I was pulled out of the house, I saw a line of dead bodies in front of the house. One of them was my 43-day-old daughter. I screamed. I was in pain, and my life seemed to flash before my eyes in one minute. My husband was missing. Two days later, my second little daughter died. I was left alone with three wounded children and a broken leg.
When we arrived at the refugee camp, we were given a tent. We received food only every three months. We had to ration the food carefully since we were not able to earn much money to buy additional food. There was also no light or gas in the tents. I had to alter used clothes and make my children go outside the camp to sell them to earn a living.
My daughters were very weak and constantly sick. My daughter Aliya often had a headache because of the dampness in the tent. There were no medicines and I had to treat them with folk remedies and herbs. It was difficult, but now it is finally over.
Upon arrival in Uzbekistan, we were placed in the Buston sanatorium for a month. Aliya had her adenoids removed and was prescribed vitamins. The youngest daughter still suffers psychological trauma, so I take her to a psychologist at the Republican Center for Social Adaptation of Children. All children were prepared for school and enrolled in extra curriculum classes to catch up with the school program. Now my kids no longer must work. They can study and enjoy their childhood.
I continue to sew clothes for sale, but no longer by hand. The local Khokimiyat gave me a sewing machine. We were included in the "Women's notebook" and provided financial assistance. The Mahalla regularly provides us with groceries. When we have meat at home, I cook a hearty meal: lagman, manti, and samsa. My kids are very happy here", Muattar, 34.
Muattar and her daughters were repatriated from Syria in April 2021 as part of Operation Mehr-5. After arriving in Tashkent, they were provided with comprehensive assistance at the Buston sanatorium, including work with a psychologist. The family has been supported within the project funded by the European Union "EU-UN support to the states of Central Asia for their citizens who have returned from the zones of armed conflicts, primarily Syria and Iraq".