“With my wife and children, we left with just our clothes”
My wife and I were taking our three children to the doctor for a routine check-up. Neighbours called us to say that a shell had exploded on our apartment in the al-Midan district. We ran home. When we got there, we couldn’t even get in the front door because everything was burnt and there was a strong smell of gas. We were afraid it was going to explode.We immediately decided to leave for Beirut without bringing anything with us. We got on a bus that was already crowded with people trying to flee the country, like us. Normally it takes two and a half hours to get to the Lebanese border. Because of traffic jams, it took us seven hours to get to the border control at Masnaa. On the journey, we were stopped and searched by the military four times. Luckily they didn’t give us any trouble.“In Beirut, I immediately started looking for work”Once we arrived at the border at Masnaa (40 kilometres from Damascus) we had to wait several hours before being allowed through. My children are young: they are four, five and nine years old. They were hungry and tired, and there were more than 200 vehicles in front of us. Friends told us that customs officials were asking for money in exchange for crossing the border. But we managed to get past without any problems. In any case, we had nothing to give them. We’d left with just our clothes.I’m currently staying with my sister who lives in Beirut. I’ve started looking for work because I don’t want to be a burden on her. She already struggles to make ends meet, especially during Ramadan. In Damascus I worked at a lingerie factory which closed when the fighting broke out in the city.Tweet posted on July 24.