My name is A.M, and I used to live in Eastern Ghouta in the town of Hazeh, near the city of Zamalka.

On Wednesday, the 21st of August 2013, around 1:20 in the morning, I remember sitting with my child and my husband’s family, which consisted of his mother, sister, and brother, along with his brother’s wife and their daughter. Also my husband’s aunt, her husband, and their daughters. Some of us were asleep that night, while others were awake, struggling to sleep due to the hot weather, as August is one of the hottest months.

On that night, my husband and his friends, as usual were setting up on the rooftop of the house we lived in. Shortly after his friends had left , we heard sounds of shelling coming from the vicinity of our area. Initially, we thought it was a usual shelling that we often heard. At that point, my husband came down from the rooftop and told us that there was shelling nearby, advising us to take our usual precautions.

Shortly, my husband informed us that it was a chemical attack and he is going to the medical point for help, since he worked in one of the medical centers. The sounds of people, ambulances, and cries for help started to escalate around us.

At that moment, we began to feel a sense of fear due to the strangeness of the situation. Breathing became difficult, and our chests started to constrict. We quickly placed wet tissues soaked in water over our noses, mouths, and faces as an initial procedure, hoping it would help mitigate the risk of gas inhalation.

We were in a state of panic and fear, as it was a chemical attack, and we knew nothing about it. It was untraditional type of weapon, which we had not experienced before.

We the women and children, remained alone in the house. I started to worry since I couldn’t reach my husband due to the communication cut off. After news of the chemical attack reached the other towns in Eastern Ghouta, one of my relatives, who lived in the town of Kafr Batna, managed to reach our area by his car.

He immediately picked up us to a medical point in Kafr Batna, where they provided us with necessary medical care and removed all the contamination from the gas that had clung to our clothes. I remember the terrifying scenes on the way to Kafr Batna, the panic, fear, and people’s screams and pleas.

That night was extremely difficult, as I suffered from  breath difficulty and eye irritation. My concern for my husband increased as I received no news about him, and I felt that something bad was going to happen.

The next morning, one of my husband’s friends arrived at our location and informed me that my husband had suffered a severe chemical injury. He had been rescued the previous night and would arrive shortly. When my husband arrived, his health was extremely bad—his eyes were red and bulging,  struggling to breathe, and he was in a state of panic and fear, as if he couldn’t believe he was still alive.

The symptoms of the exposure stayed with us for about three days. As we received news of the increasing number of casualties and the large scale of the catastrophe, we realized the How bad is the tragedy that our minds couldn’t comprehend. Many of those affected were with us just days before the incident, our friends and acquaintances. In the blink of an eye, we lost them forever.

May Allah Bless and accept them all.


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