Falit* who shared his story about surviving a bomb attack. Identity hidden for reasons of his personal security.
We have just had a breakfast with Falit* and now are walking through the empty streets of Qamishli in the far northeast of Syria. When we enter one of the streets in the central Al Wousta area of the city, Falit starts telling us about the attack by three terrorists of the self-proclaimed Islamic State in 2015. This Christian man, who is now father of a young baby girl, miraculously survived.
He points ahead of us. “A car came from there”, he says. “Two terrorists came walking from that side. I was sitting there with my friends in front of my mobile phone store,” indicating a place to the left of us in this grey and dusty street.
“They started shooting around. All my friends, we were a group of ten, got injured. I wasn’t, as I had thrown myself flat on the street. I was laying on the street for maybe up to 20 minutes. Nine of my close friends got injured, three other friends died.”
With respect he mentions their names: George, Touma and Karam. “They were all shot when they tried to run away.”
I try to imagine the scene. This man next to me witnessed it with his own eyes. He has lived through this traumatic experience, as had so many other Syrians who witnessed horrific scenes. His words make me so aware of what the people of Syria have gone through for the past nine years.
Photo from the curb or pavement where Falit* had was lying on the ground when a terrorist attack took place.
“There George lay.”
He indicates where this friend was killed. “He was with my friend Khachik, who tried to help him. When he did so he lay down next to George, then they shot at them. George died, Khachik was hit by eight bullets but he did not die. I cannot get that scene out of my mind.”
The incident seemed to last for ages. “After about 20 minutes some of Kurdish militia and some of the Syrian army came from different directions to help us. The terrorists kept on shooting and threw hand grenades. At the end they exploded themselves.”
“I felt as if I was part of an action movie. It was very difficult. All the time I only thought that I was going to die. There wasn’t place in my mind to think of those at home waiting for me. And I prayed, I prayed. A moment I felt that I would be taken to the other side, I could remember how I had lived and do remember my sins. I prayed in tears, asking Jesus to give me a new life, a life as his servant. This all happened in the first ten minutes.”
Falit noticed that he would be able to get away from where he lay. “I could get inside a shop, helping Khachik to get there together with me. He was fighting for his life. One bullet entered his chest, he had difficulties to breathe.”
Nearly empty place or street. At this location a terrorist attack took place. The blue-ish sign showing the people that got killed.
A car in front of the shop caught fire and thick smoke filled the shop.
“I gave Khachik my wet shirt to put it for his mouth. 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 could reach the Syrian army and we were immediately taken to hospital. As I was the only one of this group of friends 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 could go back home.”
Falit’s mobile phone shop was badly damaged; he never reopened it at that place. For several months he worked for the church. He was involved in the relief work for the many affected by the Syrian crisis. “Later on I could rent another place to open the shop again,” he says.
It wasn’t the only terror that Falit witnessed. In the fall of 2019 several bombs exploded in Qamishli in a coordinated attack. Later, IS claimed responsibility. “One exploded exactly in front of my home and in front of the church. They put a car bomb there. I had just left home to get something for my pregnant wife. She was sick at that time. Then I heard the bomb explosion, I looked back. I saw a large cloud of smoke. Immediately I saw it was close to our house. I ran back. Some of the Kurdish soldiers ran with me. I didn’t care about the debris, the fire, I only wanted to reach my wife. The doors of the house were broken, 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. 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.”
*Names change from security reasons
PRAY FOR SYRIA
- Pray for Falit, his family, and his friends who survived the attack, they would continue to thrive in life with Christ.
- Pray that the terrorist attacks in Syria would come to an end.
- Pray for divine intervention and for the most precious blood of Christ to protect His children.
Believers like Falit need our help!
Christians in Syria and Iraq—sisters and brothers like Falit—need our help. They’re constantly at risk because of war, Islamic extremism, COVID-19 lockdowns and daily discrimination. But through your gift today, you can show them they have a global Family who loves them.