Fear drives al-Raqqa residents to change their children’s way of life

Children selling chickens in the Friday street market in al-Raqqa city - 08 August 2020 (Enab Baladi / Abdul Aziz al-Saleh)

Children selling chickens in the Friday street market in al-Raqqa city - 08 August 2020 (Enab Baladi / Abdul Aziz al-Saleh)


Al-Raqqa – Abdul Aziz al-Saleh

“I am ready to leave this scary city. I cannot imagine the feeling of a mother who lost a child, I am doing my best to ensure my children’s safety.” With these words, Mayada al-Hamad, a resident of al-Raqqa city and a mother of two children (Muhammed and Baraa) expressed to Enab Baladi her willingness to leave the city in search for a new life driven by her fear for her children’s lives after the killing and kidnapping incidents that spread lately in the province.

Al-Hamad told Enab Baladi that her two children used to play in the streets every day, just like the other children in the city, and that she lives in a safe neighborhood where she had not heard of any suspicious incidents. Nevertheless, after the recent incidents in al-Raqqa, al-Hamad’s fears over her two sons’ safety increased; therefore, she stopped them from playing outside.

The worried mother added that she dedicated time to play with her children inside the house and get out with them and their father to the market to compensate them for not being allowed to play in the street.

She emphasized to Enab Baladi her desire to leave the city by saying, “nothing in this city attracts me as much as the idea of forsaking it. I would rather lose my home and my husband’s work than to lose one of my children.”

Al-Hamad’s growing fears came after the kidnapping and killing of children incidents in al-Raqqa city, at the end of last July in a heinous way. A child aged 11 was found hanged, while another four-year-old child was killed brutally.

These incidents changed the city’s face for the children and planted fears in the hearts of their families, who used to let their children play in the city’s streets.

Change is required

Al-Hamad was not the only one who made changes in her children’s way of life following the city’s terrible accidents, most of the al-Raqqa residents changed their children’s lifestyles, driven by their fear and desire to protect them.

Firas al-Dahan, a forty-year-old man who sells ready-made clothing, said to Enab Baladi that he and his wife agreed to accompany their nine-year-old son to his educational institute, permanently, after the city’s accidents.

Al-Dahan added, “I bought dozens of electronic and classic games to take my son off the street and encourage him to play at home, for the streets are not safe anymore.”

“Abu Mamoun,” a resident of al-Mukhtalata neighborhood eastern of al-Raqqa city, also recounted to Enab Baladi how he changed his son’s lifestyle due to safety fears.

Abu Mamoun mentioned that his son started working in the industrial zone in auto-electric repair two years ago at his wish, after refusing to pursue his school education, “despite being advised and urged to continue on learning.” He added that his fear made him move his son’s work from his friend’s workshop to his own.

Abu Mamoun said, “because of fear and safety concerns, we head to work together and come back together every day.”

Al-Raqqa city shows signs of security breakdown recently, as it witnessed several explosions, theft, kidnapping, and killing accidents, according to what was monitored by Enab Baladi.

Syria is one of the countries where the crime index hits high records, as it reached 67.42 points (out of 120), according to “Numbeo,” a website specializes in monitoring the costs of living throughout the world.


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