Syrian Father Turns Sounds of War Into a Game to Ease Daughter of Trauma From Airstrikes

Syrian troops have been advancing on the last rebel-held bastions in Idlib and Aleppo provinces since December in what could be the one of the final chapters of the nine-year-old civil war

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Syrian father Abdullah al-Mohammed sits with his three-year-old daughter Salwa at their home in Sarmada, a town in Syria's last rebel pocket in the Idlib province, February 19, 2020.
Syrian father Abdullah al-Mohammed sits with his three-year-old daughter Salwa at their home in Sarmada, a town in Syria's last rebel pocket in the Idlib province, February 19, 2020.Credit: AFP

Syrian video journalist Abdallah al-Muhammad has invented a game to cushion his young daughter from the trauma of hearing the deafening cacophony of airstrikes and shelling near his home in northwest Syria's Idlib.

A video posted by Muhammad on social media this week, showing him and his three-year-old daughter Salwa laughing at the sound of shelling in Idlib during this game, has gone viral.

Syrian troops, supported by Russian warplanes have been advancing since December against the last rebel bastions in Idlib and Aleppo provinces, in what could be one of the final chapters of the nine-year-old civil war.

Loud noises would startle and frighten Salwa, Muhammad told Reuters Television in the town of Sarmada, so he decided to ask children playing nearby to light a firecracker, demonstrating to Salwa that the noise was just for fun.

"They started laughing, and she started laughing, and saw that the thing is just a game," Muhammad said. "Two days later, the air force hit, and I immediately told her not to fear, it's just kids detonating firecrackers."

"I turn the matter into a game so that she won't be afraid," he said.

The unorthodox trauma-prevention technique seems to be working.

"It's not scary, it's funny," Salwa said.

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