A displaced Syrian father trapped in the northwestern province of Idlib has found a way to cheer up his frightened 4-year-old daughter amid the incessant shelling by the Bashar Assad regime and Russia.
Instead of cowering in fear, Abdullah Muhammed and his daughter Selva laugh together at the sounds of each passing warplane and falling shell.
"Is this a warplane, or is it a shell?" the father asks Selva in a video shared on Twitter by Mehmet Alğan, the former Justice and Development Party (AK Party) deputy for southern Hatay province.
"A shell," the daughter answers.
"Yes, and when it comes, we will laugh," Muhammed says.
The sound of a shell exploding is heard in the background, and the father and daughter erupt in laughter. While the game is sobering, it is the best tactic the desperate dad has found for insulating his young daughter from the psychological trauma of war.
Muhammed and his family fled to Idlib near the Turkish border to escape the war in Syria, according to Anadolu Agency (AA), but have found themselves again caught in the conflict amid the regime's assault on an area that is supposed to be a de-escalation zone.
Idlib has been a stronghold of the opposition and anti-government armed groups since the outbreak of the Syrian civil war in 2011. In September 2018, Turkey and Russia agreed to turn Idlib into a de-escalation zone in which acts of aggression are expressly prohibited. But more than 1,800 civilians have been killed in attacks by the regime and Russian forces since then, flouting a 2018 cease-fire and a new one that began on Jan. 12. More than 1 million Syrians have moved near the Turkish border due to intense attacks in the past year.
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