Most children would cry out in fear if they heard falling bombs. But Abdullah Al-Mohammad’s three-year-old daughter Salwa laughs.
The family have been forced to flee their home in Saraqib – a city in the eastern countryside of Idlib – due to the Syrian civil war.
They are living at a friend’s house in a town in Idlib province, called Sarmada, where they are still surrounded by near-constant explosions.
In an effort to protect Salwa from the “psychological crisis” that he has seen other children in the community endure, Mr Al-Mohammad chose to turn the terrifying noises into a game.
Every time a bomb falls, he pretends the noise is a firework or toy gun.
“She is a child who does not understand war,” Mr Al-Mohammad told Sky News.
“I decided to teach Salwa this game to prevent her psychological state from collapsing. So as to not be affected by diseases relating to fear.”
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The father of one said he and his wife wanted to turn the frightening sounds into “a source of happiness” and allow Salwa to “psychologically survive” the few seconds before each bomb drops.
Mr Al-Mohammad posted a moving video of the game to social media.
In the video, which powerfully contrasts the terror of war with the innocence of a child, Salwa is heard bursting into laughter at the sound of each explosion.
Image: The battle for Idlib in northwest Syria has intensified
The post has attracted thousands of likes and comments expressing sadness and heartbreak for the family, but also praising the “heroic” parents for “suppressing their fears for their own child”.
One comment pointed out Mr Al-Mohammad’s “fearful expressions just before he breaks into laughter”, while another said “the laughter of this little angel is much more powerful than the noise of that bomb”.
Image: There has been a weeks-long regime offensive against the country’s last major rebel bastion
Other social media users likened the family’s circumstances to the Oscar-winning movie Life Is Beautiful, which is about a father and son living in a Nazi concentration camp in World War II.
In the film, the father makes his son believe that the unbearable suffering of the concentration camp is a game.
As the civil war has raged over nine long years, Syrians have fled in vast numbers to escape the violence.
Nearly 875,000, mostly women and children, have fled a Russian-backed Syrian government offensive against the rebel-held northwest since early December, including over 40,000 in the last four days alone, the United Nations has said.
But President Bashar Assad congratulated his forces during a rare TV appearance on Monday, saying they had consolidated control over the entire province of Aleppo in northern Syria.
He pledged to press ahead with a military campaign to achieve complete victory “sooner or later”.
Source : Sky News