"I've never seen such horror in my life," says a friend who recently returned to live in our city, Afrin.
This came from a man who lived under the relentless barrel bombs of the regime throughout the Syria war. This was a man who moved his family from one place to another, witnessing horrific scenes of buildings collapsing like pieces of biscuits and children’s body parts under the rubble.
Because I know what my friend went through, his statement immediately made me understand the scale and gravity of the earthquake.
My friend had moved from one place to another, one house to another, focusing on his work and the schooling of his three children, until he finally returned to our beautiful city — famous in Syria and across the world for its olive oil.
When we chatted, he would send me photos of olives, figs, and pomegranates, in an attempt to try and tempt me to return to the ‘pure springs’, as we call them — a place like nowhere else in the world.
Nostalgic, we recalled childhood memories, remembering places that ironically survived the war but were destroyed by the earthquake.
I envied him for living in such a paradise, even though it was occupied by factions hostile to it and its Kurdish culture, but we agreed that, like all invaders, they would soon leave one day.
The morning of the earthquake, I saw my friend covered in dirt, trying to help save lives under the rubble of houses in Jenderes. Along with civil defence workers, he laboured with his bare hands and giving heart, in the hopes that he could save anyone’s life.
‘Death does not wait for rescue equipment’
"Death under the rubble," he tells me, "does not wait for the rescue teams with equipment to arrive. We must do something."
Since we were in college, my friend was always the first one to come to the rescue of those who needed help. His famous line was: “We have to do something!”
Jenderes was the most damaged city in Syria. Over half of the town's houses were destroyed, and the rest are unsafe. The dead were in the hundreds; the wounded were in the thousands. For survivors, the terror and fear that they experienced will stay with them for the rest of their lives.
I will inevitably die with those whose cries for help were not heard by the world, whose bodies were mixed with cement, iron, and earth.