The story was written in 2015 by Maysara Al Taweel
Deir ez-Zor is silently getting slaughtered. The harmony it once brewed is now being forgotten. Deir ez-Zor is being oppressed by two states, Daesh and the Syrian regime. The calm does not return to the once soulful city through media campaigns, nor do hashtags on social media pages help it return to normalcy. The torment of the ongoing barbaric activities is a reality lived by the people of Deir ez-Zor for about seven months now.
Daesh, after gaining complete control of the city, closed entry to Deir ez-Zor placing a tight siege, prohibiting the entry of food and medicine, while disconnecting electricity and water supplies, and bombarding the city with cannons and launchers.
Contagious diseases like lousiness and scabies are rife which resulted in closure of schools — not to mention cholera which spreads due to absence of drinkable water.
To make conditions worse, the regime soldiers accompany Daesh in neighbourhoods under siege. The regime brings goods from Damascus via Deir ez-Zor military airport, and sell the products over unimaginable prices that reach up to six million for 20 boxes of food and medicine.
The Syrian Arab Red Cross (SARC) tried, at the beginning, to secure some food and medical assistance, paying 15 million for its delivery by air to Deir ez-Zor, with assistance by the UN too.
Not long after, SARC stopped sending assistance due to shortage of money accompanied by local and international infirmity. That left no choice for the residents of Al Jawrah, Al Qosoor, Al Jableh and Al Moalmeen neighbourhoods, but to depart to relatively safe areas.
Miss H.K (initials have been used to maintain anonymity) narrates her story of the exodus. She departed by miracle from Al Kossor neighbourhood, which is located in the southwestern part of the city. “At the beginning, I presented a request to a security sergeant, whose name I don’t know. It is as per the sergeant’s mood to accept or reject the plea. If truth be told, requests which include male members result in a refusal; thus, requests have to be filed under a woman’s name.
“If a male requests to depart the city, he is kicked, humiliated and degraded,” Miss H.K continues, “soon after the acceptance came and I headed to Ayash barricade which belongs to the regime. They checked the papers and requested us to continue walking for about five kilometres. We reached a Daesh barricade, of course in an outfit permitted by the sharia and niqab, to avoid arrest in the prisons of Al Hesba (the police),” H.K says.
“As for males, (moving to safer zones) that is another agony. The regime does not allow 15-60 people to depart together, unless it is by air. Add to that the hefty cost of the trip, which is between 75-100,000 Syrian liras,” she mentions.
H.K, was rescued from the siege of the brothers in crime (Daesh and the regime), ends her conversation with tears, and heaves a sigh, not of relief, but with moist eyes thinks of her disabled grandfather, who died three months ago due to shortage of medicines and a dearth of nutrition.
Deir ez-Zor, was once nicknamed by Syrians as the city of generosity and lavishness, has her head wrapped in hunger for peace and prosperity today. Tuberculosis and tiredness are at her doorstep. Deir ez-Zor rests its head on the bank of the Euphrates; the river that is painted red, from the blood of its own children who once rejoiced on its river banks; the ripples of the river now bleed in pain…
Oh Deir! Our Deir. Until when?
*Translated: Amir Darwish
*Editing :Mariam Khan