A car in front of the shop caught fire and thick smoke filled the building. “I gave Khachik my wet shirt to put it for his mouth,” Falit says. “I kept on saying to him: ‘Please stay alive, stay alive.’” Then there was a big explosion. I was able to get out of the shop, carrying Khachik on my back. We reached the Syrian army and we were immediately taken to the hospital. As I was the only one of the group who wasn’t wounded, I stayed with my friends in the hospital for two days. I took care of them. Only on the third day, I finally went home.”
Falit’s mobile phone shop was badly damaged; he never reopened it at that location. For several months, he worked for the church. He was involved in the relief work for the many people affected by the Syrian crisis. “Later on, I could rent another place to open my shop again,” he says.
It wasn’t the only terror that Falit has witnessed. In the fall of 2019, several bombs exploded in Qamishli in a coordinated attack. Later, ISIS claimed responsibility. “One [bomb] exploded exactly in front of my home and in front of the church,” Falit says. “They put a car bomb there. I had just left home to get something for my pregnant wife who was sick at the time. Then I heard the explosion. I looked back [and] I saw a large cloud of smoke. Immediately, I saw it was close to our house [so] I ran back. Some of the Kurdish soldiers ran with me. I didn’t care about the debris or the fire; I only wanted to reach my wife. The doors of the house were broken and there was glass everywhere. When I arrived home, my wife was shivering with fear, crying hard, because she thought that I had been in the middle of the bombing.” Falit comforted his wife and both went to his parents’ house.
“Later, my wife told me that she was in bed when the bomb went off,” Falit says. “The bedroom was the only room that wasn’t damaged. The rest of my house was destroyed.” With the help of many friends, Falit repaired the doors and windows the next day. “All knew that our baby would come soon. Our daughter was born two days later.”
The war in Syria is not over. Attacks like those that Falit witnessed continue to happen daily. “Lord have mercy on this country,” I pray when we continue to walk the streets of this city. “Please Lord, stop this war.”
*Pseudonym and representative photo is used.