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Amina kisses her son’s photo every day … now she must bury him

  • Tue, 29 Aug 2017 10:33
Tue, 2017-08-29 03:00

BEIRUT: The tent in downtown Beirut is drowning in a wave of sadness and grief. The families of eight Lebanese soldiers captured by Daesh know that their loved ones are dead. But as they wait for DNA test results to identify the bodies, time seems to stand still.
Four families have given DNA samples at the Military Hospital in Beirut, but still they will not give up hope. Photos of their sons, and messages saying “We are waiting for you,” hang in the tent.
The only consolation for Hussein Youssef, father of the kidnapped soldier Mohammed, is that his son “died for his country and did not run away from his responsibilities.”
Youssef holds the Lebanese state responsible for the deaths of the soldiers. “Daesh has nothing to do with human beings,” he said.
“How did the state allow the militants of this terrorist organization that is responsible for our sons’ death to leave for Deir Ezzor without holding them accountable for their crimes?”
Ahmad Zakarya, uncle of the soldier Hussein Ammar, criticized Hezbollah “for not handing over the militants to the Lebanese authorities for trial, opting instead for their easy withdrawal in air-conditioned buses.”
He asked about “the stance of the Lebanese state from all these events” and pointed out that “Hezbollah refused two years ago any negotiations between the Lebanese state and Daesh, when the terrorists asked for the release of prisoners from Roumieh prison. However, today, Hezbollah is negotiating with Daesh.” Zakarya demanded to know “when and how exactly were the soldiers killed?”
Amina, the mother of Hassan Ammar, said with tears in her eyes that she cannot believe her son was killed. “He was the family’s breadwinner and he has never hurt anyone.”
Amina carries her son’s photo on her phone and kisses the screen every now and then. She recalled the day she visited him — four months after he was kidnapped by Daesh — and said: “I brought some clothes for him, and he said back then that there was no need for clothes as they would not stay in captivity for long.”
Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri said: “The government will declare a national day of mourning once the full results of the DNA tests are confirmed, in addition to one day of solidarity with the army and the soldiers’ families who have shown dedication, patience, and steadfastness throughout this ordeal.”
Justice Minister Salim Jreissati visited the tent in downtown Beirut and told the families that the government would “investigate this matter to see who failed to fulfill his role and they will inform the families about it.”
A number of young men and women held a solidarity vigil with the soldiers’ families and lit candles for the martyrs in front of the tent.

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