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After 20 operations, Syrian mother sees her sons again

January 26, 2021 at 12:43 pm

An optician carrying out an eye test using a Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) machine on April 28, 2015 in Cardiff, United Kingdom [Matthew Horwood/Getty Images]

A Syrian mother who lost her sight following a barrel bomb explosion at the hands of the Assad regime has been able to see her sons for the first time in two years.

Thirty-five-year-old Fatima Nahas underwent 20 surgeries in Turkey to restore her sight after she suffered burns to her face in the attack on Aleppo on 9 January 2019.

Fatima and her husband, Mazen Khadija who is 41 years old, left their two children in the care of their grandmother on the outskirts of Aleppo and were rushed to a Turkish hospital in the governorate of Hatay.

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After undergoing 12 surgeries to restore her sight and more than 20 others to relieve the pressure from scars on her face and body, Fatima was able to see four-year-old Mohammad Al-Fateh and three-year-old Zakaria on 8 January. After an emotional reunion, the entire family is now settled in the Turkish town of Adana.

“I don’t remember how many surgeries I’ve had here,” the mother told Anadolu. “I have been in and out of surgery rooms as soon as I arrived in Turkey. I was mentally devastated and was always dreaming of my children, thinking of whether I would be able to see them again.”

“I was so distressed and crying all the time in their absence,” she said, “this caused higher blood pressure and doctors had to postpone my surgeries for this reason. They told me it would be better if I had my children here in Turkey.”

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With more surgeries to go, Fatima hopes her mother can move to Adana to live with them and take care of her children while she is in hospital.

Mazen, an academic who worked at the faculty of law in Syria before the war, lost “many children” during the war, referring to his students who were killed in bombings.

“Then, I was separated from my own children. They stayed in Aleppo for a while but we were worried because the attacks were intense there. Thank God, we are together again,” he said.

Mazen said he feels “alive” again after reuniting with his sons.