“My family was destroyed and dispersed, and we lost the head of the family, the breadwinner and the bond.” A wife explains her suffering from the disappearance of her husband
On the International Day of the Forcibly Disappeared, the “Human Rights Guardians” reminds the world of nearly a hundred thousand forcibly disappeared Syrians, 85% of whom are with the Syrian regime, as the families of the disappeared are still living a nightmare of not knowing the fate of their relatives and loved ones. Today we convey to you the suffering of Mrs. Mariam, whose husband was kidnapped in 2012, she is the mother of seven children, her daughters, who both grew up and married in the absence of their father, did not meet their father from the moment he was kidnapped from their home and until this moment.
- Tell us about yourself and your family and how has your life changed after 2011 in Syria?
Maryam from Syria (Hama), I am 47 years old, married to Abdul Hamid Salloum, my husband disappeared on 11/28/2012. Losing my husband was devastating for our family in every sense of the word.
- what was your husband job?
My husband was a farmer and merchant and had been in this profession for over 30 years.
- When was your husband arrested and how was the regime’s control, and what were the circumstances at that time?
At the beginning of 2012 problems began to creep onto our village from various places until a murder occurred against 7 soldiers of the regime near our village, after which all the men of the village were accused of this crime .
- Explain to us how the regular army and security deals with the people of the village.
The treatment was very bad and totally inhuman. The regime treated the village as if it were a group of terrorists, armed men and criminals burned homes and cars, arrested men, children and the elderly, and committed massacres in entire families..
- What did your husband feel about the regime’s actions? Was he afraid of them?
From the beginning and until he got arrested, he did not interfere at all and did not come into contact with the regime or the Free Syrian Army. He stayed at his house and did not interfere in any military or sabotage actions that occurred at the time. Of course he was afraid of them after their actions of killing, torture and arresting everyone, he became afraid of them.
- tell us what happened on the disappearance of your husband.
On November 28th 2012 was the day of the disaster that befell my family. My family was destroyed and dispersed, and we lost the head of the family, the breadwinner and the support.
On that day at 3 a.m. on a cold winter day, my brother in law knocked on the window of the house, my brother-in-law Adnan opened the window in fear, and I thought that someone was sick and needed an ambulance, but he told me to wake up my husband and tell him to open the door of the house, I went quickly. told my husband he woke up from his sleep with fear and quickly put on his clothes and went running into the house because he thought that there is a medical emergency, my husband did not return I heard the sound of a car in front of the house door, after 5 minutes two masked men entered the house and they began to search they gathered the whole family in one room me and 7 children, we were very scared I couldn’t ask them about my husband but my mother in law asked them but they impolitely told her that if she doesn’t shut up they will smash her head with the stock of the rifle, when she went outside they beat her an elderly woman who just wanted to see her sons.
After finishing the search they began looting the house and took jewelry and gold they found. After they finished they took my 16 year old boy outside one of the elements put a gun to his head and began beating and asking him about the guns and saying if don’t tell us I will blow your head off. In that moment I went to the solder and begged him not to kill my son, he began cursing me and wanted to beat me but his captain told him to leave the boy because we have the father. They left the house in ruins everything is destroyed we felt lost and violated.
- Was he contacted after the arrest?
He was never contacted, although I did not leave a middle man, a lawyer, or a security man. I did not contact him and tell him about his situation and offer them money so that at least I can talk to him.
I went to the capital 7 times, asking about him, Homs 8 times, and Hama 12 times, but they all don’t give me any answer. My lawyer told me once that he could get him out, but he needed a sum of one million pounds after I gave the money. I lost contact with him. I exhausted my options and my effort, but I did not find any trace of him.
- When was the last time you saw your husband?
The last time I saw him was on the date of his arrest, when he left the door of the house. That was the last time I saw him.
- How did your life change after your husband was arrested?
My life has changed a lot after my husband was arrested, and I can honestly say my current life is not like that before his arrest. My life has been destroyed, my children’s lives have lost my home and my land, and my children have lost their education. I have been dispersed and put in the face of life and I have become lonely with 7 children who I take care of them. In caring for my children, after my husband was arrested, I ran away from the village in which I lived and went to another village, but I was not safe from the shabiha and the security forces, every week they storm my house and scare my children and arrest them. After I have had enough I went to the liberated areas.
If one of my children dies I will not morn him as much as my husband who suffers from torture every day. Both of my daughters were married in their father’s absence and I lost my son in the battles in 2015. I moved from one place to another for 8 years and now I live in Afrin, nothing has changed in our lives and we still hope that we will meet him some day.
- What do you say to your children about their father?
My children are all adults they have seen with their eyes the moment of his arrest and the moment of infringement of the elements of security on them and their brother my little boy was only 5 years old and every day he asked about his father but after he grew up he never asks any more.
- What have you done to find out the fate of your husband? Do you still look for him?
I used all the available means at the time. I contacted a few men in the village who had connections with security. I went to the capital several times to ask about his whereabouts in the military police, and every branch sends me to anther branch until they told me that my husband is a prisoner of terrorism and it is forbidden to ask about him.
If I ask about him Once again they will arrest me. I went to dozens of lawyers, and they did not help me with even a small thing about his fate. I have submitted his information to the United Nations and appealed to all humanitarian organizations, but to this day I have not obtained any information about him and to this day I am still looking for him and here I am writing my story for you hopefully I can find news about him.
- What is the importance to shed light on the missing persons issue for you?
Abduction issue is very important issue because as wife sister and cousin of the missing person mother of a martyr few have felt ass I feel as if a piece of your heart is missing, staying up days and nights thinking about the fate of my 7 children who lost their father and their suffering after arrest Facing life alone without a shoulder to rest on, it is very sad that breaks my heart and tire the body that the detainees are in pain that does not end with their exit even if time passes and the whole life passes, I cannot forget who is in the cell waiting for his freedom .
- In the end, what do you dream when the evening when close your eyes?
My dream is simple, to know the fate of my husband, to end this horrific nightmare, for life to return as good as it was 8 years ago. Is this a big dream? A person dreams of being safe for himself!! And freedom from injustice and arrest!! This is not a great request. All my dream is for my husband to return from detention. I do not have any other request. My dream is not that the years that have passed by torment and emigration return. My dream is not for the dead to return to life. My dream is very simple, which is to sleep and wake up and see my husband and children around me.
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