Syria chemical attack survivors vow to fight for justice

A father whose twins were killed last week in Khan Sheikhoun attack in Idlib province speaks to Al Jazeera.


    Reyhanli, Turkey - Last week, Abdul Hamid al-Yousef lost the loves of his life.

    His wife Dalal and their nine-month-old twins, Aya and Ahmed, were among the dozens killed as a result of a suspected chemical attack on the Syrian city of Khan Sheikhoun - a tragedy Yousef still cannot fathom, and a trauma he says he will never overcome.

    "It was a huge disaster," Yousef says, before emotion overtakes him.

    READ MORE: Syria gas attack - 'We found bodies all over the floor'

    In all, more than 20 members of Yousef's family died on April 4 - a day in which horrific images like the ones showing him cradling the bodies of his dead children shocked the world.

    Abdul Hamid al-Yousef [Murat Baykara/Al Jazeera]

    Speaking to Al Jazeera from Reyhanli, Turkey, Yousef, who blames the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for the attack, said his pain is unrelenting.

    "I'm going to try, as much as possible, to fight the regime through the media," he said.

    "I'm not going to abandon my country. God willing, I'll return to Syria - because we started our revolution six years ago and we still demand freedom and justice."

    Other members of the Yousef family who survived the attack are also in Reyhanli - and also still stunned.

    READ MORE: How chlorine gas became a weapon in Syria's civil war

    One of them is Yousef's cousin, Alaa, who on Monday received even more bad news.

    "My wife was affected by the chemicals as we all were," Alaa al-Yousef said.

    "When I took her to the hospital she was pregnant. At the beginning, we didn't know if the baby had been affected. Today she got tired and they took her back to the hospital. I was shocked when she told me she lost the baby."

    US strikes in Syria: Game changer or deterrent? - Inside Story

    Like so many Syrians who have experienced the brutality of their country's war, members of the Yousef family are not just sad.

    They are also scared and fearful that despite international warnings - including from the US - to Assad, the killing in Syria from both conventional and chemical weapons will continue.

    When talk turns to the missile strikes launched by the US army last week on Syria's Shayrat airbase in response to the Khan Sheikhoun attack, Yousef's brother, Mohammed, is sceptical.

    "It didn't change things for the better, it changed them for the worse," Mohammed al-Yousef said.

    OPINION: Syrians should not be thanking Trump for the strikes

    "Because the regime, after only a few hours, began operating out of that airbase again and planes started taking off from there and killing civilians again."

    Just another reason, members of the Yousef family say, that the darkness will not soon lift, and the suffering will only deepen.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera News


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