Established by Fathi Ibrahim Bayoud 2005 - Homs

Syria's civil defence soldiers mostly students

Features | 2014-03-17 00:00:00
Syria's civil defence soldiers mostly students

Hassan, a university student from Aleppo, had no choice but to leave his education due to the escalating dangerous events in his city to join civil defense courses which are held periodically in Istanbul.

University of Aleppo is a public university located in Aleppo, Syria. It is the second largest university in Syria after the University of Damascus, and during the last two years students in this university have shouted the word “FREEDOM” in its corridors and many of them were killed due to explosive barrels.

Ironically, instead of learning how to use the stones to build and restructure the city, Hassan is now learning how to save the lives of people stuck under rebels and demolished buildings due to regime’s bombardment.

"It is my fate, which was drawn by regime’s hateful barrels" says Hassan expressing his satisfaction with his new profession, and when asked if he will return to the university after the fall of the regime, he replied: “Every day I feel hundred years older and that my previous dreams have become far away from being fulfilled…. They are no longer like me …I forgot that one day I wanted to be an engineer”. He said

Unlike Hassan, Akram a law university student, decided not to surrender to regime’s barrels, and will immediately resume his studies in the faculty of law after the fall of the regime when the situation in Syria stabilizes.

Akram who was very close to his dream, was forced to drop out of university in the fourth year, to enroll in the civil defense services.

“I’m reading my college books continuously in order not to forget the information that I learned in college, because today I am in a temporary mission to serve my people and once the danger is gone, my task will be reinforcing accountability as a cause and bringing criminals to justice. He said

“I will not allow the regime to steal my dream of being a lawyer it’s enough what it has already stolen from our lives, our belongings, and our martyrs, so my dream will not be one of its war trophies. He added

Karam describes how he joined the civil defense: “A shell landed on one of the houses adjacent to my house, so I rushed with the neighbors to pull the house residents from the rebels.

We thought no one would survive, but we were able to save an entire family pulling them alive and I felt like a hero for saving them, and that encouraged me to join the civil defense”. He said.

Akram devotes an hour or two of his time each week to meet with the rest of his college classmates to re-review the information they have studied.

“We often prepare a trial for Bashar Al Assad and his collaborators and the court would be divided into a court body, a defense lawyer, and lawyers to defend the injured party (the Syrian people)”he said.

And recently Akram invited some of his colleagues in the civil defense to attend the trials represented by his lawyer friends.

And since most of the civil defense teams in Aleppo are young former students, fun always finds its way to their gatherings despite all the horrific and sad scenes they have witnessed while doing their jobs.

Aiyham the Arabic literature student says: “We try as much as possible to remember that we are still young students” and this is what he is trying to do by inviting some of his colleagues in the civil defense for a poetic evening to read poetry with other two colleagues .

We try to meet every Thursday at the house of one of us, and listen to poetry verses that we wrote especially for these evenings. He said

Aiyham and his friends revealed their intention to keep these verses until they can print them in one divan when things settle down and everyone returns to his life and career.

And until that happens, they hope these harsh circumstances don’t deprive them from their passion and love to poetry and life.  Reporting by Lama Shammas;Translation by Dani Murad

Zaman Alwasl
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