Nivin Hotary, on 22 March
Recently, me and Maya got used to sleeping besides each other. During most of the nights the palm of my hand would be over her ear. I try to stop the terrifying sound of [explosive] barrels and missiles from scaring her while she’s asleep.
This night is exceptionally crazy. My hand hurts as I cover Maya’s ear so she could sleep and not hear the sounds, yet the sounds are relentless not stopping for even a second.
Fighter jets, helicopters, and rocket launchers.
Nearby and far away sounds.
All those around me are tense. Fear is in their eyes but we are trying to hide it. Women in one place and men in another. The last thing I hear was the voices of men performing a communal prayer in their space. I am lying next to my daughter.
This time the attack sound was close.. very terrifying..it al unfolded in a few seconds.. the [explosive] barrel dropped on the building adjacent to us.
It’s hard for me to describe the scene. But the scene is engraved in my mind in all of its details.
A white wave- I saw it from my spot- descending the stairs and filling the whole width of the staircase. Afterwards it entered through the door of the room where we were, and spread.
And it entered the men’s room..
In seconds it filled the space, such that those around me started shouting: who switched off the light!
The light didn’t switch off but the white wave filled the space..
From the moment it entered through the door, the mean yelled to us one word: “Chloooride”..
Personally, the sound of the explosion alone was enough to make me fearful for my children..afterwards there was the cloud that entered the basement..
Can you imagine my state as they were screaming: Chlooride… be careful.. put on towels..hold your breaths.
No one can see anything and no one is able to move..coughing, the chloride smell..
Since I was lying next to Maya, the first thing I did is that I tucked under the blanket with Maya and held it down from all sides so the smell won’t enter underneath to us…
Where is Kosay? and Kosay’s father?
My heart started hurting
Suddenly Kosay ran towards me and joined us under the blanket.
The men came in to rescue us.. I heard my husband’s voice and I was worried about him since we wasn’t with us under the blanket.
I was hearing the voices of women screaming out for help, yelling: water.. we need water, we are suffocating.
We endured ten minutes of hell
From inside the basement, we are hearing the sounds of bricks being demolished above..and fearful that the building will collapse above us and we will be stuck in the basement with the chloride and the white cloud.
After half an hour things started settling down in the basement..but the airplane outside did not stop.
The white cloud was due to the building debris that fell at the basement’s entrance .
Thanks God the chloride wasn’t concentrated enough to kill us..
For the whole night I felt a real pain in my heart muscle and felt that my hand was paralysed..they could be psychological effects from the fear.
In the morning most of us had lost our voices from the dirt, dust, and chloride which we had inhaled.
At that time I asked those around me to film short video clips… for documentation.. the attached video illustrates the white cloud approximately seven minutes after we were able to get up from under the blanket.
I tried to document many moments of my life underground in the basement
For me I will never forget what I have been through.
It is essential that I do not forget so I do not forgive.
I filmed to document an era of our lives for my children when they group up
And how in the twenty first century a people were treated by a governing regime, friendly countries and enemies in indictment for demanding freedom. .
Despite everything.. Syria will remain free
With us and with our children who lived with us the taste and delight of freedom, even though the entire last period was filled with grief.