Syrian father invents game so that his daughter does not fear bombings

Abdullah Al-Mohamed and his daughter Salwa. Image: video screenshot by Burak Karacaoglu/Twitter.

Little Salwa laughs out loud every time her father asks her "plane or bomb?" Since the beginning of December, about 900,000 people have had to leave their homes in northwestern Syria.

Syrian Abdullah Al-Mohamed has invented a game so that his 4-year-old daughter Salwa will not be frightened by the bombings in Syria. Al-Mohamed has called the game 'plane or bomb?' and has made the girl believe that everything is a game worth laughing at and that the war is not real.

Al-Mohamed lives with his daughter Salwa and his wife in Sarmada, a town in the district of Idlib, on the Syrian-Turkish border. They are refugees in a friend's house since the family was forced to flee their own home in the neighbouring Saraqib because of the Syrian civil war. 

In fact, the idea for the game came to his mind shortly after some bombs fell very close to her home and the little girl suffered a psychological crisis. In fact, many Syrian children suffer from psychological problems and stress symptoms due to air strikes.

Laughter against bombs

In an interview with The Independent of Turkey, Abdullah Al-Mohamed explains how he convinced Salwa that everything is a game:

"I searched for solutions to make these bombs a source of happiness, not fear, for the girl. Games with toy guns came to my mind over the holidays. I explained that those noises from the bombs came from some toy guns. I taught her that they were not scary but were made to laugh," he said.

However, Abdullah is worried about the continuous shelling as she gets older, because he says that the game will no longer be enough to protect her mental state. The family is hoping to return to normality and provide a good education for Salwa soon. "We want to live a life without fear", said Al-Mohamed.

The selfie-type recording reminds Roberto Benigni film, La vita รจ bella, in which a father invents a fantasy to protect his son in a Nazi concentration camp. The video was shared on the net by the journalist Mehmet Algan.

A rumbling sound gets louder and Al-Mohamed asks Salwa: "Is this a jet or a bomb?". Salwa replies: "A bomb, when it comes we will laugh". The father asks: "Does it make you laugh?". Salwa replies: "Yes, it is funny".

Greatest history of humanitarian terror

Only since 1 December, about 900,000 people have had to leave their homes in northwestern Syria, the vast majority women and children, for fear of bombing. The war in Syria has already been called by the UN as "the greatest history of humanitarian terror of the 21st century". 

According to the UN, violence in northwestern Syria is indiscriminate and they have received reports of attacks on settlements with displaced people. They consider the only option is a ceasefire. Save the Children and UNICEF have also warned that low temperatures in northwestern Syria and the ongoing offensive in the last rebel stronghold of the country has killed some of the 500,000 children displaced by violence in the region.

Al-Assad says the war is on

President of Syria, Bashar Al-Assad, says the war continues in the province of Idlib and west of Aleppo, the last opposition strongholds. "We understand perfectly well that the liberation of Aleppo will not be the end of war, nor the end of terrorism, nor the surrender of enemies, but it will certainly bend the enemy and be a first step toward their complete defeat," declared Al-Assad.

Turkey fears an influx of displaced people across its border with Syria and has boosted its own military presence in the region. Russia, which supports Assad, has accused Turkey of flouting agreements it made with Moscow.

Opposition fighters say Syria and Russia have adopted a 'scorched earth campaign' that drove them from areas along the highway.