Testimonies of Mu’az Subuh and Baraa Subuh
Military fires missile at home with family sitting down for lunch, killing girl and man
Testimony of Muhammad Abu Dayer, 16, Ziad’s son:
I lived with my parents on the first floor of the second a-Da’ur building on al-Wehdah Street in the a-Rimal neighborhood. After the war began, we heard the airstrikes and drones. We were terrified. We also heard the ambulances taking the dead and wounded to a-Shifaa Hospital. We left home only to buy groceries. Our area is pretty quiet.
On Sunday, 16 May 2021, there were loud explosions very close by. They went on for a long time, and we thought they were aimed at our building. My father asked me to recite the Shahadatain prayer. I hugged him tightly because I was terrified. Then we found out they’d bombed the building of the Abu al-‘Oaf family.
When the bombing stopped, we left home and fled. We saw dust, smoke, rubble, pillars and torn power lines. The road and pavement were torn up, with gaping holes. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I couldn’t stand the sight of the destruction and the dismembered bodies being taken out of the debris. I saw the body of Dr. Ayman Abu al-‘Oaf, who’s the father of my friend ‘Omar. The whole way, I thought it could’ve been me.
We got to my uncle Murshed’s house, which is 200 meters away. We were scared and very anxious because the bombing was so intense, and because of everything that had happened and what we’d seen on the way. The next day, at around 11:00 A.M., my father went to pray at a nearby mosque. My cousin Mahmoud, 17, and I went with him. Then we bought a few things and went home.
The following day, around midday, I visited my friend ‘Omar Abu al-‘Oaf at a-Shifaa Hospital. At 3:15 P.M., I went back to my uncle’s house. We arranged mattresses on the balcony to sit and eat. My father sat on a chair, reading the Quran on his phone. My uncle’s daughter Rafif, was sitting next to him drawing. I sat with the rest of the family – my mother, my uncle, his wife and their eight sons – on the mattresses.
Suddenly, we heard something whistle through the air. Then there was smoke and dust, and bits of debris and stones rained down on us. I got up to look for everyone. I put a hand on the door and discovered it had no handle. The water tanks had been damaged, and the water leaking from them helped clear the smoke and dust. It also put out the fire that had started burning in the mattresses and sofas.
Only then did I start seeing what was happening around me. I saw everyone wounded and bleeding. I looked for my father and found him on the sofa, wounded in the head. Part of his head had fallen to the floor. When I saw that, I screamed in horror. I was in shock. It was the first time I’d seen anything like it. I’ve never seen anyone injured or killed. I went out to al-Wehdah Street. My cousins Ziad, 18, and Muhammad, 21, came out after me. They were looking for an ambulance.
A few minutes later, ambulances arrived. They took away my cousin Rafif, who’d been hit in the head and neck and killed. Then they put my father in the ambulance. He was dead. I went with them to the hospital. I was examined and they found I was injured in my shoulder and left toe. The rest of my family were examined, too.
That evening, at 8:00 P.M., we buried my father. Then we went to my uncle Khaled’s house in the a-Sabra neighborhood, because it’s no longer possible to live at my uncle Murshed’s house.
It was a hard, sad day. My father is dead and I’m alone. I lost the person who was dearest to me. He was afraid something would happen to me in the airstrikes and that I’d be killed, but in the end, it happened to him. I still can’t believe it happened and don’t want to believe it. I feel like I’m living in a nightmare. I’m still young and already an orphan. I lost my father, who was my whole world and gave me hope in this world. He meant everything to me.
- Testimony given to Muhammad Sabah on 9 June 2021