Plants and library: in his tent, a displaced Syrian reinvents his lost house

Atmé (Syria) (AFP) - In the middle of olive trees, in northwestern Syria, Wissam Diab scratches the strings of his oud, seated near the plants lining the entrance to his tent.

Inside, even more plants and a collection of small cacti, but also, on a table covered with a white tablecloth, dozens of books: works in Arabic, by the Egyptian novelist Naguib Mahfouz for example, or a Dostoïveski or Haruki Murakami.

Forced to flee his native village with his family in war-torn Syria, the 19-year-old, displaced in Idleb province, sought to recreate the decor of his childhood home.

“It's been four years, and we have not been able to find a house or return home,” laments the young man with green eyes and long brown hair.“What I did with the tent was to try to accommodate me."

Wissam lives in his own tent, pitched next to that of his parents and two sisters, in an olive grove in Atmé, near the Turkish border.

A pretty stone path leads to the entrance, amidst flowering plants and shrubs blooming in its landscaped garden.

Inside, a white sheet conceals the tarpaulin that makes up the tent, and benches on the floor act as a sofa, on a large red carpet.

"Our house was like that (...) but better", remembers Wissam."We had a garden, a library, we had a lot of flowers."

- Return not possible -

Launched in 2011, the war in Syria left more than 380,000 dead, throwing millions of people into exile.

In Idleb, the last great jihadist and rebel bastion which escapes the power of Bashar al-Assad, half of the three million inhabitants are displaced.

Posted Date: 2020-12-01

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