Turkish shrapnel shatters dream of Afrini girl in Syria’s Aleppo

ALEPPO, Syria (North Press) – Dream of the 17-year-old Fahima Resho to become a university student has come to an end after she was killed by a piece of Turkish shrapnel, turning her to a painful memory for her family, acquaintances and friends.

Fahima’s mother looking around with her unsettled glares at the photo of her deceased daughter hanged on the wall and at 15-year-old Rokhash Resho, Fahima’s sister, who is still lying on the bed cannot stand up alone.

Fahima succumbed to her wounds after a week in the hospital.

Fahima’s mother says bitterly with tears dropping, “I wish I were in your place, my dearest Fahima.”

On July 26, at about 18:30 pm, while 44-year-old Ghazala Khalil was accompanying her two daughters, Fahima and Rokhash, working on the field to earn a living, a barrage of Turkish shells dropped on the villages of Sheikh Issa, Beloniyah, Maraanaz, Menagh, Ain Daqnah, Tatmrash, Shawargha and the town of Tel Rifaat.  

The mother had never imagined that one out of 100 shells falling on the above mentioned villages and the outskirts of Tel Rifaat would take the life of her beloved one, Fahima. 

Khalil, an IDP from the village of Ramadan in Jindires in the countryside of Afrin, narrates the story of that day, ”the dust was rising to fill the sky, there was a breaking sound, we no longer realized what was happening proper.”

When the shells were dropping, the mother was working on a field between Sheikh Ali and Tel Rifaat, while her two daughters were on the opposite side.

”My heart predicted a bad omen”

The mother passes her time endurably weeks after her bereavement, she cannot hold her tears, she added, “I could not stand up, I crawled crying for both, I saw my daughter heading towards me running before the second shell fell.”  

After the smog and dust ensued by the second shell, Khalil saw nothing but ambulances transferring the wounded, she rushed to asked about her daughters Fahima and Rokhash. 

She asked one of the medical staffs who tried to assure her that her daughters were well, “I could not believe that, I had something else telling me otherwise, I predicted the worst”, the mother stressed that her intuition did not let her down. 

However, it was revealed later that five injuries were transported to the Tel Rifaat Hospital, but Fahima was taken to Aleppo’s National Hospital due to the severity of her injury, femoral artery in her left thigh was hit.

The family was told the girl was improving in the hospital after she started calling her friends and relatives, “she was asking about them unsparingly as if she knew that farewell to come.”

Suddenly, the shrapnel caused her an internal bleeding; she was given 7 kg of blood; however, that did not save her life. Her state worsened, she lost her life on August 1st, the mother told North Press.

Buried Dream

In 2018, Afrin IDPs fled their houses due to Turkish military operation Olive Branch and they resorted to the northern countryside of Aleppo and other areas in northeast Syria, nonetheless, they were not spared of the shells even after displacement.

Turkish forces attack them on daily bases that have been on the rise lately after reports of a new military incursion on Manbij and Tel Rifaat.

In 2022, one child lost his life in Turkish shelling of Aleppo northern countryside, and 13 others were wounded, according to Kurdish Red Crescent – Afrin and Shahba branch (operating in north Aleppo). 

Rokhash who was lying close to her mother began to weep, saying, “I was left alone; I could not say her good bye.”

17-year-old Roni Bakr, an IDP from the village of Qotan in Afrin’s Bulbul sub-district, and a friend of Fahima tries to console Rokhash; however, she fails to do so because she is still shocked.

“I fear the same thing happens to me as Fahima”, she says.

“We were all eager to pass the third secondary grade together and join the university together too; this will never happen,” she added.

The mother tries to hold on, and wipes her tears from her wrinkled face, sighing, “She was studying, but she preferred to go with me to render help and support her father who works in a small grocery, we just wanted to subsidize.”

Fahima was buried in a cemetery in the village of Fafin in Aleppo northern countryside, where bodies of eight children, other victims of the Turkish shelling that targeted Tel Rifaat in December 2019, were buried too. 

There in the cemetery stands now a gravestone representing a young girl, whose body is turning to ashes, seen by all passersby, who come to visit their beloved ones, lamenting her short life that was taken prematurely by a piece of Turkish shrapnel.

Reporting by Faya Milad