A survivor of the regime's prisons, she was abandoned by her brothers to face life’s hardships alone
Ghadir Umm Suhaib was arrested twice by the Syrian regime. But what hurt her more was the fact that she was rejected by three of her brothers because they were ashamed of her arrest and thought that she made bad decisions.
Umm Suhaib, who hails from Hama province in central Syria, suffered a lot during her arrest and after her release. Her pain was heightened when one of her brothers refused to speak to her when she returned home because he was ashamed of her arrest.
After she left the areas controlled by the regime and went to the Idlib governorate, which is controlled by “military factions”, two other brothers also refused to speak to her.
Umm Suhaib says she chose to head north to escape the threats of arrest. “However, I paid the price of living alone without a family or a breadwinner. My husband died under torture in the regime's jails after his arrest in 2011 and my brothers abandoned me.”
She added that according to her brothers, being detained and tortured by the regime is easier than living in another region by herself. But for her, living alone under bombardment is far better than returning behind bars.
Umm Suhaib rented a small room with a very modest kitchen in Idlib province for her and her four children. Her eldest son (13 years old) left school to help support the family. She said that he earns 15,000 Syrian pounds a month, which is barely enough. Her daughter suffers from kidney disease and needs to visit the hospital frequently.
Umm Suhaib contemplated her humble dwelling, which has become a secluded prison. She was left alone with her children to face her illnesses, the effects of detention and the hardship of life. She said, “My arrests have made me quite irritable. I also suffer from a blood disorder and a slipped disc in my back as a result of uncomfortable sitting positions in prison.”
During her first and second arrests, she was transferred to several security branches of the regime in Damascus and Hama. She was accused of communicating with her nephew, a dissident from the ranks of the regime forces, and of supporting terrorism and armed men. She remained in detention for the second time for nearly a year.
She added that she was subjected to physical torture in the form of repeated beatings that led to a broken jaw and to shabeh (whereby she was hung by the hands from the ceiling so that her feet just hanged above the ground). She was also subjected to psychological torture when they made her see her detained brother hanging in the shabeh way and placed her in a cell that has no windows and no light.
Despite what Umm Suhaib has gone through, she is trying hard to start a new life that may be better for her and her children. However, what she has gone through is engraved in her memory. During our talk, she expressed her hope that the issue of detainees will be resolved and that they will get out of the “hell of the Assad prisons.”