08 June 2018
Vanessa Beeley met Hannah Al Ayek and her family early in 2018 in Salamiyah.
Alongside Hannah was her son, Mohammed Nizar the twin brother of Said who had been martyred on the 22nd January 2013 in the siege of Kweyris airport to the North of Aleppo.
Said had been a helicopter engineer with the Syrian Arab Air Force. On the day he was killed, he was on board a helicopter ferrying supply into the base when it was brought down by a Free Syrian Army TOW missile, according to his family.
Said was not even 22 when he was martyred. He left behind his mother, twin brother, father, Ashour and sisters Sally and Isra who is only 17 years old. The whole family sat down in their simple front room to talk to her.
Hannah said to Beeley:
“You are coming here and talking to me about my son gives us all strength. We beg you to take our voices as far as you can. My son and all our Martyrs have sacrificed themselves for the World, not just for Syria. Maybe they don’t all have the same face, but they do have the same soul.”
Beeley spoke with Mohammed about the deep connection he felt with his twin brother, Said. Mohammed told to her:
“Said called me just before he was killed. When he hung up I had such a strange feeling, like a sharp pain in my chest. The exact time he was killed I entered into a state of shock, around 11 pm until 11 am – over 12 hours. I couldn’t move, I could hardly breathe, I had to lie down. I only found out he had been killed after I came round from this shock”
Mohammed went on to describe similar incidents when the two brothers were growing up.
“We would often feel the pain of the other if he was hurt, even if we were far apart. Another time when I was in the SAA, I was injured in my right leg. Said was in another area of Syria but when we spoke he told me he had felt a strange pain in the same leg at the same time.”
Ashour, Said’s father, who had been silent throughout, suddenly spoke up:
“We cannot describe how we feel to lose a member of our family to these terrorists. It is very hard, almost impossible, to think about tolerance. We have not lost something material, we have lost part of our heart and soul.
We pray that this war will end soon and that everyone in the SAA can come home to their family and that safety will return to Syria.
The SAA belongs to the Syrian people and the Syrian people belong to the SAA. Nothing on this Earth will ever divide the people from the Army”
The full transcript of the video:
Mohammed Nizar – We would like to deliver a message. We are one hand with the Syrian Arab Army and we give martyrs to our country and we are a part of the army.
The people of Syria are the army and SAA is the protector for this country under leadership of President Bashar Al Assad.
We are a part of the army and its martyrs because he is our son and our partner in this country, we are one family, partners, we are inseparable.
Hannah Al Ayek: They (SAA) are our life, they are defending us, giving their blood to protect their country, their homeland.
Our young people in the SAA, we wish God will protect them, protect Syria and protect all the young who are still alive.
Mercy for our martyrs.
Mohammed: Without our President we wouldn’t have the country stand until now.
The country and the Army complete each other, the Army is defending this country and our homes this Army is from us and for us, we can’t be separated from each other.
We are all one hand in the end.
Hannah: Our sons love for this country led them to sacrifice their blood and their youth
Mohammed: Syrian youth defending the country, the family, the leader, their honour… those people cannot just go and travel.
The blood of the martyrs is a high price paid for this country.
We are all martyrs for this country
Hannah: May they all Rest in Peace.
Vanessa Beeley is a British investigative journalist based in France. She is known for her articles on the Syrian war and her investigation on the White Helmets.
Kevork Almassian is an award-winning political commentator from Syria. He is the founder of Syriana Analysis and is known for his contribution to the literature on the Syrian war.