Diary of a Syrian Survivor (Escape from Aleppo)

Suzan Monser, a 16 year-old student from The Cambridge High School in Abu Dhabi, tells Tempo about growing up in Aleppo, Syria and having to leave her home to survive. The story speaks to the heart of the heart- breaking Syrian refugee crisis.

Ahmed woke up. Ahmed’s alarm woke him up. Ahmed’s alarm was simple. It was just the little drops of crystal clear cold water falling from an open red tap into an empty thirsty metal bucket. From where I was sitting I could see how he wore his thick blue jacket and how he went excitedly to wake Sara up so they could play with the other refugees in the camp.

9th November 2015

It was first day of the beautiful white snow of the torturous winter in Turkey. Baba had already left for work in town with his wooden brown caravan to sell handmade sweaters Mama made. I had gotten used to sitting on the floors for hours doing nothing but remembering my life in Aleppo.

13th March 2009

Diary of a Syrian Survivor (Escape from Aleppo)In Aleppo, you wake up hearing the person selling vegetables in the neighbourhood and calling people to buy “Wahed kilo bandore bi 50 lira”. Or you could even wake up from the noise the wind makes by hitting the doors of the balcony, as if it has a hand that is knocking on the doors to wake you up.

Life has been always like that until: countless youth have been dying day after day.

20th March 2011

In Aleppo you could wake up. You could wake up from the sound of the bullets striking through your balcony door and breaking everything into tiny pieces. Or you could wake up hearing a mother of two children crying on her knees and screaming their names in the dark empty streets.

17th August 2013 

Diary of a Syrian Survivor (Escape from Aleppo)Waking up looking at the mess you’re in; hearing people screaming, missiles every 20 minutes; not being able to hear the voices and laughter of the happy kids. This was now our new routine.

23rd September 2014

My dad: the walking corpse, financially destroyed and mentally sick. Since the day my dad’s business burned down he started thinking of a way out of Aleppo. We packed small bags and kept all the necessities and waited for the day we would use them.

2nd October 2014

Diary of a Syrian Survivor (Escape from Aleppo)We headed with our small bags to the battlefield – the only crossing we had. It was midday and it was not only the weather but also the view that was horrifying. It was like a 100-meter race, a circuit placed between two tall buildings, and the two rivals were on opposite buildings holding big guns. It was time for me to run and leave all my memories behind without looking anywhere but to my destination, the end of this battlefield. While I was running my neighbour got shot in the ankle and fell… I stopped. I felt like this was all a dream. I paused and the world paused. A bullet passed by. I didn’t know what I was feeling or what I should be feeling, but I moved after my dad screamed my name and all the people who had reached the safe area were staring at me anxiously. I moved and started running as fast as I could. I reached the safe area looking at Layla struggling with her ankle. I was hoping she’d die as soon as possible, instead of dying from the pain.

1st November 2014

After eight checkpoints and waiting for 14 hours in the bus, we’ve finally reached Turkey’s borders. It was time for the farewell to my beloved country and for me to be officially labelled a Syrian refugee.

Here I am sitting on the green mat inside the tent waiting for the day I can go back to my country.


Diary of a Syrian SurvivorINARA is the International Network for Aid, Relief, and Assistance. They work with children from conflict areas who have catastrophic injuries or illnesses that have been aggravated by war or circumstances caused by war, and need lifesaving or life altering medical treatment.

Donate and help children suffering from the war. visit: www.inara.org

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