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Syrian #IAmStillAlive activist killed in Eastern Ghouta

March 15, 2018 at 1:53 pm

A Syrian girl raises her hand as she poses for a photo for the awareness-raising campaign “#Iamstillalive” on the social media, organized by activists and children, demanding support for the humanitarian crisis caused by Assad Regime and its supporters in Eastern Ghouta of Damascus, Syria on 2 March, 2018 [Amer Alshami/Anadolu Agency]

Syrian activist Ahmad Hamdan, who raised awareness of the plight of people in eastern Ghouta with the hashtag #IAmStillAlive, was killed last night after a bomb struck his home in the town of Hamouriya.

The 26-year-old filmmaker started using the hashtag #IAmStillAlive earlier this month, writing on Facebook: “We’re still alive, living here between death, siege or bombardment. I invite the whole world to stand by us. We launch our campaign today #IAmStillAlive. Invite the world to stand with us.”

Syrians in Ghouta quickly started to use the hashtag, or the Arabic equivalent to post pictures from the ground and convey the resilience of the people in the besieged enclave.

People around the world also started using the hashtag to draw attention to the continued bombardment on the east Damascus suburb and show solidarity with the people trapped inside.

The Syrian filmmakers at the Academy Awards, who were nominated for their film on the White Helmets in Aleppo, also took the opportunity at the ceremony to raise awareness of Eastern Ghouta.

Read: Cristiano Ronaldo calls on eastern Ghouta children not to give up

Hamdan was killed by an airstrike in his hometown overnight, leaving behind his wife and his eight-month-old daughter. Despite having lived under siege for the past four years, he was known for having a good sense of humour and days before his death, messaged his friend, joking about his situation.

“I dug my grave yesterday,” he said. “So that I don’t have to bother myself with displacement.”

His death has caused many to take to social media to honour his campaign, hailing him as a hero.

Hamouriyah was attacked with several bombs last night, including barrels of chlorine gas, according to the White Helmets. Hamdan was among 13 people who were killed with dozens more injured.

More than 1,200 people have been killed by the Syrian regime in the past month; over 800 were killed after the UN Security Council voted unanimously in favour of a 30-day ceasefire across Syria, as rescuers in Ghouta said a week of perpetual bombing had not let up long enough for them to count bodies during one of the bloodiest air assaults of the seven-year war.

Russia, which supported the Syrian regime’s offensive, has defended the ongoing campaign in Ghouta, despite continuous shelling preventing aid convoys from reaching the area, forcing many to turn back without unloading their cargo. The regime has permitted some evacuations to take place this week, with some 300 people so far having left Ghouta, mostly women and children.

Eastern Ghouta is also one of four de-escalation zones established last May by Russia, Iran and Turkey in order to stem the bloodshed of Syria’s six-year civil war. However, the region has experienced near constant bombardment for many months, with aid provision restricted, leaving 400,000 civilians struggling to survive.

Read: US warns Syria regime not to use poisonous gas