Israeli Druze Students studying in Syria return home for summer break

Expressing their ambivalence at the prospect of returning

, dozens of Druze studying in Syria returned to Israel for their summer break, recall experiences & hardship of studying in a country at war.

Hassan Shaalan

Dozens of Druze students returned Thursday from Damascus to their Golan Heights homes to a slew of hugs and tears of joy on the part of their families.

התקבלו בשלום ובברכה (צילום: אביהו שפירא)

Students return from Syria – Photo: Avihu Shapira

A number of them spoke to Ynet and recalled the fear shrouding the country and expressed reservation regarding the prospect of returning to Bashar Assad‘s war-torn Syria for the remainder of their studies. Their parents expressed concern, but said that the final decision was for their children to make.

The Syrian civil war has been raging for over two years and has cost the lives of over 100,000 people. Nonetheless there are those who are attempting to keep up the semblance of normalcy.

“Despite everything happening in Syria, I will return there to complete my studies without fear,” Allah Habus said.

She was joined by Wa’am Elqish from Buq’ata, a Druze village in the northern Golan Heights, who said: “We all feel fine. The atmosphere in Syria is not scary, we’ll return to study. We have grown accustomed to the situation.

לחזור או לא לחזור, זאת השאלה (צילום: אביהו שפירא)

Home again, but will they return to Syria? – Photo: Avihu Shapira

Mansur Amasha, also from Buq’ata, said he actually felt at home in Syria: “There is no real difference between Syria and where I live now. There is fear in Syria, but I intend to return there to complete my studies.”

“The situation in Syria is frightening,” another student noted. “It is hard to leave the dorms because of the life-threatening reality waiting for us outside. At times it’s hard to buy basic food products and additional things we need.”

“I need to think long and hard if I want to return to study in Syria. Maybe it would be better if I stay at home and wait out the war; because as long as I hear explosions and people are dying it is difficult to focus on my studies,” they added.

Druze watch fighting across border (Photo: EPA)

Druze watch fighting across border – Archive: EPA

Their parents are also concerned about the situation. “Our son Muhammad is studying to be a pharmacist in Damascus and we’re very scared because of everything going on in Syria,” Najah Zahuweh said.

“My son will decide whether to return to Syria or stay here with us. We will not interfere with his decision. It is his future and he will do what he believes is right for him.”

Raid Zahuweh, whose daughter is studying in Syria added that: “My daughter Ghadeer has returned today after completing a year of her studies. We are always concerned because of what we hear is happening in Syria. It forces us to be in constant contact with her. We speak five times a day to make sure she is fine. She tries to stay in her dorms after school.”

 

View original Ynet publication at: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4404019,00.html

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