Thursday 11 April 2013

Age doesn’t matter anymore in Syria

Abu Sameh feeds the lamb and two sheep and dons his sleeveless jacket to set out

Abul-Izz (top) and Abu Sameh exchange pecks on the cheek before setting out on reconnaissance 

Gardening chores before the cup of tea
In war, the elders give the orders while the young do the fighting and die.
Not so in the Syria war, now into its third year.
There, two spry and energetic elders have joined the young in fighting Assad regime forces at the risk of dying.
The pair are a sexagenarian known by his nom de guerre, Abu Sameh, and his friend, who goes by the assumed name of Abul-Izz.
Abul-Izz is dubbed شيخ المقاتلين (“Dean of Fighters”) because he is about to move into the septuagenarian bracket.
As Free Syrian Army members, Abu Sameh and Abul-Izz, aka the Dean of Fighters, meet at the break of dawn every morning for a routine joint patrol to scout out the peripheries of their community.
Theirs is one of a belt of rebel-controlled communities to the northeast and south of Damascus.
Speaking on camera to Aljazeera reporter Mahmoud al-Shami in Rif Dimashq governorate, Abu Sameh says he decided to take up arms against the regime after its forces “took me from home together with my children. They arrested us, starved us and burnt down our home. They stabbed my son to death and a rocket killed my grandson.”
The minute-plus video filmed by Aljazeera shows Abu Sameh going about his daily routine. He starts by feeding his lamb and two sheep before donning a sleeveless black jacket, picking up his rifle and walking down the alleyways to fetch Abul-Izz from his home.
Abul-Izz’s jacket and rifle match Abu Sameh’s.
After exchanging quick pecks on the cheek and walking down an alleyway side by side, the two men at the winter of life go separate ways to their respective lookouts on the fringes of their township.
Abu Sameh returns to his dwelling on completion of the day’s reconnaissance mission. After some gardening chores, he starts an antiquated bucket of fire to boil a rusted teakettle.
After defeating age, he calmly sips his “cuppa” to the staccato of gunfire and thuds of explosions in the distance (see the video below).