Ayman Hakim is glad to be home. Ten days ago, he was in his native Syria, delivering medical supplies and two ambulances and other assistance.
“Scary. I don’t think there’s Syria anymore,” Hakim described. “It’s a jungle.”
While he has lived in Seattle for decades, some immediate family still lives in the war torn country.
Hakim knew the situation in Syria was bad, “but not this bad."
"You go into the city, you smell the death," he said.
Hakim volunteers with Seattle’s Salaam Cultural Museum, which makes trips to Syria relatively frequently. This was the first time the destruction so much of the nation has been immersed took place before his very eyes.
“I went to different hospitals looking for one that needed an ambulance,” Hakim recalled. “I heard a whistle. All the sudden, the loudest noise.”
The hospital was being attacked, presumably by the Syrian Army.
“Ten minutes later, everything calmed down,” Hakim continued. “A man died right in front of me. My hands were filled with blood. It was sad. He had a pita bread in his hand.
“He was no fighter. When they target people, who gets it? Just innocent people,” he said.
Hakim said he spent 10 days in Syria. Now back in Seattle for a little over a week, he still has nightmares about the missile attack, the appalling conditions he witnessed and the dead women and children he saw inside refugee camps and hospitals.
“You go into the city, you smell the death. You just feel like your body’s numb,” described Hakim.
While the Syrian conflict has raged on for two years, the United States and other governments are only now considering military action. Hakim hopes any missile strike has one intended target: President Bashar Assad.
“If they’re going to do the airstrike,” Hakim said, “take him out. Make sure you take him out.”
Meanwhile, the Salaam Cultural Museum plans to send another volunteer to Syria next week to deliver more supplies. Hakim said he is prepared to die in Syria trying to help his country survive.