SHAH ALAM — It is hard for peace-loving Malaysians to imagine ceaseless war. But for a doughty bunch of Syrian migrants, it was all there for many years.
Thanks to the efforts of the Coalition of Humanitarian NGOs for Syria, 68 people are now settled in the country after being moved from one refugee camp to another since fleeing their conflict-ridden homeland.
The migrants were vetted by Home Ministry officials, who ensured they had no ties with the government of Bashar al-Assad, ISIS, the Free Syrian Army, or any other political faction in the civil war. Any connections, even the most remote, merited automatic disqualification.
Yet the adults of these 17 families will never forget the horrors they witnessed first-hand during the early years of the Syrian Civil War, which erupted in 2011.
Abdullah, 26, was a former military officer under the government of Syria’s strongman, who once worked in a four-storey prison where dissidents were subjected to torture. Sickened by what he saw, he eventually turned against al-Assad and fled with his wife Nur S., also 26.
“The most common method of breaking you was to tie your arms above your head and leave you in that position for 10 days. Either that or arms pulled and tied behind your back, or one arm and leg pulled back for that period,” he said, as some of his compatriots gestured in illustration. Read more