I lived in the northern part of Deir Baalba with my mother, my sister and three of my brothers. An army official came to visit the neighbourhood on April 8. He told us he had come to protect us and asked us to stay in our homes. We didn’t want any trouble with the army, so we obeyed. A few hours later, members of the security forces and “chabbihas” arrived. They took my mother, sister, and youngest brother away. I don’t know where they are today, or if they are even alive.
The security forces and “chabbihas” then brought around a big truck and asked my brothers, cousins, neighbours and I to put everything valuable we owned in it. Then they brought us to a stable - there were about 30 of us – and started slitting throats. One soldier told another: “We don’t have all day, let’s finish them off with bullets.” So they shot at us. Luckily, the bullet that hit me in the back didn’t kill me. But since I fell to the ground like all the others, I was covered under a pile of bodies and they thought I was dead. I recall that when the security forces left the stable, they asked another of their colleagues if he had finished “burning the others.”
I spent the next two days sneaking back and forth between the stable and my house, where I drank water and tried to call my cousin, who is part of the Free Syrian Army, but who wasn’t answering his phone. Mostly I stayed in the stable, though, because I was afraid that if I stayed in the house, I would be spotted by the security forces or the “chabbihas” who patrolled the streets. Finally, another member of the Free Syrian Army answered the phone. He told me to sneak between the houses and go to an olive field on the edge of the city. The Free Syrian Army had left the Deir Baalba neighbourhood a few days before the regular army moved in. The rebel fighters had relocated to northern Homs, and were hiding out in farms. I did what he told me, and, as agreed, Free Syrian Army fighters picked me up in the olive field. They took me to a field hospital in Rastan [a city 20 kilometres north of Homs], where I was treated. I’m doing much better today, but the bullet remains inside my body.