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“They Destroyed our Memory and All We Have”

A Flash Report on the Explosion of Qamishly City on 27 July, 2016

by wael.m
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Preface: I am a baker in one of the local bakeries in Qamishly. I woke up early in the morning, just as I do every day, and went to my workplace. It was around 9:20 am when I heard a big explosion that shook the city. My brother looked out the window and said that he believed the explosion had taken place near The Youths City, a place about one kilometer away from the place of the actual explosion. But when I looked out the window, I saw the smoke billowing up from the site of explosion. I told my brother that the explosion was in Amoda Street and that it looked close to our home. 

I immediately borrowed my friend's car and tried to get to the site of explosion, but the Asayesh forces had blocked all the roads, so I walked to the place of explosion which was a few hundred meters away from where I parked the car. When I got to the explosion site, I immediately looked at the house I lived in with my family. The house was a multi-story building, but I couldn't see any house. I only saw the street located behind the house. The building had turned to a pile of ashes and nothing was left.

I tried to find my father's car, hoping that he would have driven to the market as he usually does. But I found it on fire instead. I stared for a while at the destruction caused by the explosion. In a while my cousin came to tell me that he took my mother to two hospitals but both confirmed that she had passed away. He told me that he put her body in one of the mosques of the city. I searched for the rest of the family and I found my little daughter, who had been put in an ambulance with a serious injury. About ten minutes later, some people retrieved my son from under the rubble, so I took him immediately to Faraman Hospital, but he was dead already. I went back to the site. There I saw my uncle who told me that my wife and my two daughters are in Nafez Hospital, but that they were dead as well. My brother came later and told me that one of my sisters survived the explosion with some fractures in her pelvis and shoulder. 

I carried the bodies of my wife and two daughters, then the body of my son, and put them all next to the body of my mother in the mosque. Then I went to the National Hospital looking for the rest of the family. There, I found my little sister who got burned completely. My brother's wife was split in two halves due to the explosion. I searched in all hospitals, morgues and mosques but couldn't find my father. 

The next day I looked for him again in all hospitals and mosques, but in vain. So I went back to the explosion site where rescue teams were still working. I told them that I couldn't find my father who was supposed to be here at the time of the explosion. I told them that I expected that his body was still under the rubble. Indeed, they found his dead body after an entire day. He was dead.  In this explosion I lost eight family members. In the nearby building, where my uncle was living with his family, I lost a son and three daughters-in-law. In the basement of my building, lived my uncle. He also lost two members; Dr. Castro and his sister Balshin, who was a medical student. We have lost everything in this explosion – family, money, all we have… all we have.

“Survivor Samir Abdul Karim Ahmad Sheikh Mousa” Qamishly – August 2016

To read the full report and download it in (PDF) format please click on this link.

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