There was intense Mortar shelling on #Douma during the big military attack on al #Ghouta. Yosuf was one of the Syrian Civil Defense members. After he heard of the shelling, he directly headed with the SCD members to the targeted site to evacuate the injured people or martyrs, if any.
When they arrived in the targeted location, the shelling started again on the same place and three SCD members were killed; Yosuf and his colleagues.
I personally know the three martyrs, they are Mohammad al Awa and Wasim Al Najjar whom I used to spend the evenings with and they were all in the same SCD center. The closest one to me was Yosuf. Every time I told Yosuf about a charity, voluntary, relief or raising awareness activity, even an Eid activity or distributing bread, he was the first to participate.
Every time I look in the mirror, I remember him saying to me “do not be mean or arrogant, May God help us not to be, do not show off, smile and do not tease people”.
Yosuf was the SCD van driver and his hair was long. I used to pull his hair from behind when he was talking like that and driving and I used to tell him “do not talk like that and spread the rumors that I’m mean”. He used to stop the van then and ask me to get off the van and manage my way alone. We had such a brotherly relationship.
I once wanted to volunteer in the SCD for him, I seriously wanted that. I went to the center to register my name. He teased me saying that I would ruin the SCD and asked me to give up and with jokes and laughs he prevented me. He was worried about me; he knew very well what it meant to be a volunteer in the SCD and what things you may face.
During Eid al Adha last year, a cluster bombing targeted the SCD center and Yosuf was injured with his colleagues. I stayed with him and spent the nights with him until he recovered.
The most thing I like about him was his kind heart, his support to others and his frankness. He had nothing to hide and spending the time with him was refreshing.
Our photos together and the photos of our mutual projects will stay.
Yosuf was supportive. When a bomb hit, a warplane bombed or a barrel bomb fell, he used to drive the van and go to the site. I used to call him the Crisis Driver. He was the talented driver at times of shelling and evacuation. When it was raining missiles and projectiles, he used to run to his death not caring; he knew every minute could save the life of another person.
He was the closest one to me. He had never said “no” or “I cannot” to me. In February this year, a very big attack on our area (Douma outskirts towards Harasta) took place, I wanted to flee with my family but we could not because of the raids and barrel bombs then chlorine attacks, it was a very difficult situation.
No one was able to move because of this intense shelling and I wanted to save my family, to send them to a safe place. I talked to Yosuf and he said “I’m coming to see you tomorrow morning”.
The next day at 8.30 AM, he came and took me and my family to a safe place though I knew that the road was monitored and no one could pass through because of the ongoing shelling. Still, he came and fulfilled his promise and risked his life for me. He risked his life for someone else. He did not consider what he did a big deal. He told me that we were brothers and my family was his. I cannot forget this incident.
After Yosuf was martyred and we fled al Ghouta, I remember him every time I want to make an activity and I say to myself “where are you Yosuf to help me”.
I wish he were with me; he understood me and we could do many projects together. We would have gone to the camps and helped many people.
His absence created a big void. I feel I have no one reliable to support my back. I lost a mass of energy and brotherhood with his loss.
When we had a difficult situation or were confused about something, he used to tease us by saying “if I go away, what you will do with yourselves without me! I’m sure you will get lost and hit a thousand wall.”
This is what happened. When I lost him, I was vulnerable for a while and I did not improve my relationship with any one. I do not want to have a close friend then lose him.
I think I want to tell him that you are relieved now. You are relieved of expatriation, of the loss bitterness. Your colleagues in the center were martyred and we left our house. I will miss you in every activity I participate in, in every step I do. Every soul you have sacrificed yourself for will miss you.
The photo is for Martyr Yosuf and his friend Fares.