[Youphil.com has collected an exclusive testimony of a young Syrian. Enlisted in the Free Syrian Army (FSA), he serves as a translator in a hospital in Turkey, located near the Syrian border, to help doctors and patients. We checked the veracity of his testimony and did our best to protect him and his family.]
"I remember the first time I saw wounded people flooding in and noticed their wounds. I collapsed on the floor and broke my nose. Unfortunately, I've gotten use to the sight of blood now."
Sitting in front of his computer, Hassan seems relaxed. With a simple shirt on, he is far from displaying the war-like demeanor of Syrian insurgents. He recounts his daily life of violence with calm, showing a lot of maturity for a young man of only 25.
He comes from Aleppo, a city in the North of Syria, where his family still lives as refugees. Since July 28, 2012, the biggest city of the country has been the scene of violent clashes between the regular army and the insurgents. For two years now, Hassan has been studying mechanical engineering at Gaziantep in South East Turkey. Two months ago, he enlisted in the Free Syrian Army (FSA).
Nurse inspite of himself
This young man with a youthful face acts as a translator at the central hospital of Kilis: "Members of the FSA told me that they needed people who spoke Turkish in order to help doctors communicate with the wounded", he explains in a simple manner. "I also assist them when they need to clean blood on the floor. I am almost a nurse."
Since the beginning of the bloody repression of the demonstrations against the Bachar al-Assad regime in March 2011, several Turkish cities next to the Syrian border serve as a rear base to the insurgents. According to the United Nations (UN), about 120,000 Syrians have fled the country, of which 44,000 fled to the refugee camps in Kilis, Turkey, located approximately four miles north of the Syrian border.
Every day, about 20 people come to the hospital, 80% of whom come from Aleppo and its surroundings. They are civilians (men, women or children) and members of the FSA. They can't go to Syrian hospitals or else they will be detained or killed. Some die before arriving. Others are missing an arm, a hand or a leg", he recounts thoughtfully.
"I don't know how to use a weapon"
A smart head rather than a hot head, Hassan is not a fighter. When he enrolled in the FSA, he followed military training within a battalion. But he decided not to take up arms. "I prefer to serve as a relay on the ground." When we ask him if he would like to fight one day, he answers that he has thought about it: "...but my parents have convinced me otherwise. Plus, I don't know how to use my weapon, so I am more useful in this position."
At the end of July, Hassan decided to return to Syria. He wanted to create a battalion of combat with some of his friends and relatives, in which he would continue his role as a relay. But he remains rational and well aware about a conflict that is dragging on. "Bachar al-Assad is far from beaten. The insurgents are well implanted near Aleppo, but al-Assad still controls 60% of the city. With the sacred month of Ramadan, however, the regime will lose 70% of its forces", he ventures to say.
Optimist yet lucid
Confident about the outcome of the conflict, he believes however, that Syrians have to help themselves out of the crisis. "We don't want anything from the international community. Help never comes free, we don't need it." He nevertheless admits that some "supplies and additional weapons" would be welcome.
In a country that is heavily divided between Sunni and Shiite Islam, Hassan proudly claims that he belongs to neither of these two religious denominations: "I am a Muslim before anything else. I don't make any difference."
Yet the civil war rekindles the tension between these two groups. If the regime falls, the Syrian Alawites, an ethnic group assimilated to Shiites, and to which al-Assad's family belongs, fear a witch hunt: "It's a real problem", confides Hassan. "Even if many, including me, will fight to make sure this doesn't happen, some will want to take revenge."
Though optimistic, Hassan nevertheless believes that it will take decades for the country to rebuild itself. He hopes "that all those who have committed crimes will be tried" and held accountable. Including those from the FSA? we ask -"Everyone."