Eight years of conflict in Syria have so far cost the lives of 370,000 people. Although ISIS has lost almost all their territory and the US military is gradually pulling out, the situation is still far from stable. Master’s student Ahmad Al Eido hopes he can go back some day. ‘It is a beautiful place with a wide variety of landscapes in which old civilizations have prospered.’
Text Ignacio Auger Photo Mustafa Olgun / Shutterstock
‘I had a good life in Syria. I was studying at Aleppo University and I had a job as a farming consultant. But I had to leave my country because it was not safe anymore. That was almost 4 years ago. I came to Wageningen to continue with my studies.
People think the conflict started suddenly, but it was a result of years of repression and corruption by the regime. At first, people just wanted a political reform. We conducted peaceful protests, but they were faced with bullets. We just wanted to achieve freedom of speech and freedom of choice, and to build a democratic country.
We need to look for the reasons why war broke out. ISIS declared their own state in 2014, but it all started back in 2011. It is clear that the root of the problem is the regime. If President Assad had reformed the country, everything would be better now, but he turned his full power against his own people. The situation got more complicated when Islamic groups came into Syria and international powers, such as the USA and Russia, transferred their own war to my country. What started as a revolution with flowers became a complex war.
I want to change people’s perspectives on Syria. My country is not only a war zone. It is a beautiful place with a wide variety of landscapes such as forests, deserts and rivers in which old civilizations have prospered. People from different religions and cultures were living together in harmony. In Syria you can find churches and mosques built next to each other, without any barriers. This is the Syria I know and the Syria I want people to know about.
Hopefully, one day when it is safe again, I will go back to my country. I would like to go back to participate in rebuilding the country and use the positive experiences I have had in the Netherlands. I really appreciate the kind of life I have here. I just want the same for my people.’