An Experience of War: Story of a Palestinian Student in Syria


PNN/ Exclusive

“I was tired…I became trapped between staying or leaving…” these words were uttered by Dr. Bilal Hroub, 24, from Deir Samet village south of Hebron, a Palestinian student who graduated from the University of Aleppo (Halab in Arabic) in Syria and one of many who experienced the Syrian revolution and the horrors of the war. The revolution erupted while he was in his third year of university studies in the faculty of Medicine.

“At the beginning of the war, we didn’t have a clue about the circumstances and the details of the war, especially because I was about to finish my third year of study and we, the Palestinian students, had a fear to lose this period of our lives,” Bilal said.

“Palestinian students knew at that moment that their families are afraid of their lives…. they kept warning me not to interfere in problems and stay indoors,” Bilal added.

After Nearly Two Years of Revolution, Crisis Escalated

After two years of war in Syria, the crisis escalated and the suffering of Bilal and his colleagues increased; they suffered great concern, fears and a long internal conflict. The situation became harder and more ambiguous, until Bilal reached a situation where he had to make his own decision, either to stay in Syria or return home.

Bilal elaborated “We started to sense that the situation had become more difficult and complicated, and we sensed the real fear and concern after a year and a half of war.”

He continued, “That period was a turning point in my life and I asked myself several questions: Shall I continue? Will the situation get better or worse?..The last year was an internal conflict and I had to make my decision at once.”

“The situation wasn’t easy for me, the University was destroyed in the bombardment and marches and protests were still organized on a daily basis.”


“I became very tired, I had to determine whether to continue studying in Syria or lose the three years of my life I spent in the university… I lived in tension and long internal distrust.”

“One of the worst situations I faced was when troops of the Syrian Army stopped us on our way to Damascus to complete some procedures for the university. The troops informed us that the area was an area of engagement and they asked us to wait in the bus we were riding. We waited for two hours, and then we were released. Yet, suddenly four bullets passed before our eyes. My friend and I were in shock because the bullets could have killed us.”

Electricity and Water were cut off for a long period of time

Regarding the daily life, Bilal told PNN that he and his colleges were living a daily nightmare during the war.

“We lived a difficult life, we were starving for several days and we were lacking water. From my experience, the lack of water is much harder than having the electricity cut off.”

Bilal woke from his nightmare when he returned home, yet several other Palestinian students and families are still living it. At the end of the interview, Bilal was asked about his wishes for the future of Syria.

“My beloved Syria, I wish you will return to what you were before and I pray to God to protect Syria, especially Halab (Aleppo), and protect its citizens.”

This report has been done in Arabic by PNN reporter Muhammed Masalmeh and was translated by Mariam Nabil. 


Categories: Arab World, Asia, Palestine, Syria

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