“I was born in Qamichli, in Syrian Kurdistan. Before war it was nice. But after, it was really difficult. When I was 14 years old I left home and joined the army for 4 years. I joined the Kurdish YPG [Protection unit of the people]. My father told me not to go, but I didn’t listen to him.
We were fighting ISIS in the Sahara. I was based in Ras al-Aïn, it’s next to Turkey. War was really difficult, sir. I didn’t see my parents or my brothers for 1 year and a half. I was only doing war. I saw a lot of things. I saw how people died. We didn’t sleep at night. We were looking if they were coming. They could come at any time. Sometimes at 2 in the morning, 4 o’clock, 8 o’clock… we didn’t know. So we waited. And then we fired. It was really difficult. When I think about it, I feel scared.
Once we were 10 and ISIS attacked us. I was in a house and I saw a tank firing at me. I ran and Hamdoullah, God saved me. Then, men from ISIS came towards me. I took a grenade, I opened it and I said : “If you come near me, I’ll throw it.” They came closer, I threw it and I ran. For 2 or 3 hours I kept running. It was really difficult. On this day, out of 10 of us, 4 died and 2 got caught.
For my family also it was very difficult. My mother and father were always scared for me, if I was going to die. I have 5 brothers and 2 also fought in the war. But none of them died, Hamdoullah. Then I took a bullet in the knee and then we came in Switzerland in 2015. My aunt had been there for 20 or 30 years and she filed the demand for us. My dream was to work like my father. But now I don’t have any dream. In Syria we were very wealthy. But now everything is gone : the house, the shop, the car, everything. But we say : okay, everything is gone, but we are still here.”
(Les Charmilles | translated from French)