World, Middle East

Syrian teen evades death by mere seconds of regime attack

Working with brother at local shop in Idlib, Ahmed Antah, 14, steps clear of regime strike just 5 seconds before impact

Ahmet Karaahmet and Ethem Emre Ozcan   | 22.10.2021
Syrian teen evades death by mere seconds of regime attack

IDLIB, Syria

Working with his brother at their shop in northwestern Syria, teenager Ahmed Antah was lucky enough to have stepped clear of a deadly regime artillery strike that fell just outside their door seconds later.

Security camera footage showed how Ahmed, 14, unwittingly dodged the shell as meandered in the small shop just five seconds before impact on Wednesday in the town of Arihah in Idlib province, killing at least 10 people, including children.

The shell had been fired by Bashar Al-Assad regime forces and Iranian-backed foreign terrorist groups, targeting Arihah's marketplace in the southern countryside of Idlib in an early-morning strike.

Images taken by Anadolu Agency show that one of the artillery shells fell right in front of the shop in a violent explosion at 8.04 a.m. as Ahmed and Omar Antah were working.

The video footage also shows Ahmed, whose hand was injured in the attack, shouting for his older brother who had been sitting near the door.

In about three-and-a-half minutes of footage, the Antah brothers are seen fleeing the store as six more blasts follow the first, with Ahmed rushing his brother to the hospital via ambulance.


Idlibi schoolchildren dying in attacks

Ahmed said that the artillery shell fired by the Assad regime forces landed just five meters (over 16.4 feet) from their grocery store, Ahmed said in an interview with Anadolu Agency.

Expressing his ongoing shock at the incident, Ahmed recounted that it was only by chance that there were no customers in the shop at the time of the attack.

Noting that children were also among the attacks' victims as they made their way to school, Ahmed said: "I'm 14 years old. Am I a terrorist? The regime shows its power only to women, children attending school, and babies."

He said he and his two older brothers made a living working at the shop and that the attack had now rendered their wares unusable.



‘People were torn apart in front of my eyes’

Omar also recounted the moments of terror that they experienced during the attack.

Everything happened in a matter of seconds, he said, adding: "I can't describe how I feel. I was knocked down in an instant. I had hit my head."

Explaining that the regime forces carried out attacks on civilian settlements because they were unable to capture the area, Omar said: "The only place in the world where children die on their way to school and don't return is Idlib."

Omar said he had a nervous breakdown after the attack. "My car was damaged in the attack, the products in front of the store became unusable. People were torn apart in front of my eyes."

Velit Ahras, who has a grocery store in the district center, also witnessed the regime's massacre.

Ahras echoed the brothers, saying that the Assad regime continues to target women and children in Syria and that his house was also reduced to rubble in an attack that killed his son.

Syria has been ravaged by a civil war since early 2011 when the Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protesters.

23.10.2021

*Writing by Merve Berker in Ankara

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