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Idlib, the biggest mass detention center in the whole world.

By February 28, 2020 March 20th, 2020 Stories From Idlib

My imprisonment at the regime’s detention centers lasted for two consecutive years, where I underwent dooming experience. Detention and prison-life in Syria are entirely different than any other country around the world. In the Syrian detention centers, you experience the slow death. The two years that I spent in prison was a life-changing experience which taught me a lot about life and rendered me a stronger person than what I used to be in the past.

Following my release, I moved to Idlib, not only out of fear of being arrested again but also because I felt belonging to this city. In Idlib, I was raised, grew up, had my education… Here I have my life, friends and family.

I felt that my suffering had come to an end. I thought that the future is going to be better, and the bad days will never be repeated. Unfortunately, my hopes and dreams never came true. My struggle continued after I was released, namely in the past year due to the escalating situation in Idlib, which has not been any better.

I am wondering now!! Where is it harder to live at, the detention center or in Idlib?

The detention center or security branch means, humiliation, torment, beating, locking your freedom, food deprivation… where your life can be taken in a tortures session anytime… where you are locked down in an underground prison where you do not see the sunlight for months or even years.

Life in Idlib, however, means that you can die, that you may lose your friends, or family anytime… living in this city means that you are always alerted and cautious… it means that you hold your son when you hear the warplanes flying over your head… you do not know if the bomb is going to hit you or not.

At the prison, you can see the prisoner, you can scream to make him hear your anguish… he might feel you and stop torturing you more.

In Idlib, you cannot see the pilot, you cannot make him hear your voice crying out, you cannot make him feel you and stop bombing you more and more.

At the prison, you do not know when you will be released!! In Idlib do not know when you will die!

At the prison, the door is locked… In Idlib, the borders are locked!

Perhaps the common feature that makes Idlib and prisons similar is the fact that, while prison is a sole torment, Idlib is a mass torturing show.

Idlib…. The biggest confinement and detention center in the whole world.

All civilian who were once residents on my city, Kafrnabl, are now displaced, they left towards the Turkish borders. Despite the intense bombardment we stayed until the very end. My father is an elderly man. Like every one of his age in the town, he refused the idea of leaving the city… he did not want to leave the house that he built after years of hard work… he does not want to leave the land that he planted and saw its trees growing up like his children.

We left eventually because of the regime’s advanced and became very close to our town. The Syrian army, Russian and Iranians, arriving here before we leave, which means our destiny will be execution immediately, or detention in the best-case scenario.

I do not think that anyone undergoes detention in Syria and does not feel frightened from it. this is why we left our house and fled with our souls.

I only had one goal when I started working in the media after my release, which was to tell the story of people and civilians suffering in Syria, and mainly those who are in prisons. I deemed this to be my mission in life, an oath that I bear to my friends who are still until this day in the prisons.

A lot of obstacles I have been facing in my work in my society which is not used to see women work in the media. Nonetheless, I am determined to continue my work to speak up my peoples’ struggle in Idlib to the whole world. Eventually, nothing is easy, notably in the media and in Syria as well!!  I shall, however, acknowledge the support that I have had from my family and friends to be here and supported me to carry on my mission and helped me to overcome the enforced disappearance experience and work in the media.

I only have one wish… To live in peace like anyone in this world, nothing more!

Sahar Zator

Idlib