Syrian nurse recounts struggles of war-affected women
AZAZ (AA): As the world celebrates International Women’s Day, a nurse in Syria recalls the struggles women have been facing since the outbreak of the war in 2011. Elif who did not give her last name due to security concerns a pediatric nurse at a hospital in Syria’s Azaz province founded by the Independent Doctors Association, said International Women’s Day is no different from other days in the life of a Syrian woman.
“We the women of Syria do not live and experience International Women’s Day,” she told Anadolu Agency. Elif said that with the war, the life responsibilities of Syrian women mounted along with the struggles they have to face daily. Syria has only just begun to emerge from a devastating conflict that began in 2011 when the Bashar al-Assad regime cracked down on demonstrators with unexpected ferocity.
Hundreds of thousands of civilians have been killed or displaced in the conflict, mainly by regime airstrikes targeting opposition-held areas. Noting that living conditions in Syria are difficult, Elif said that life in refugee camps is particularly hard for women due to the lack of health care and security. “I learned here [in the hospital] what it means to be a woman. The living conditions of women here in Syria are difficult. They have a hard time. For example, the women who live in
camps, those who survive bombs and trauma. These women experience both psychological and physical problems,” she said.
Elif said Syrian women also live with anxiety triggered by the ongoing war, and this also affects their families. “Most women don’t want to have children because they’re afraid they won’t be able to take care of them,” she said. Saying that she has met many women with different stories at her workplace, Elif added the war has hit women and children the hardest.
“What will I eat tomorrow? Will there be bombs? Will I be able to get bread or other food? These concerns trouble our women. They’re worried about the future,” she added. As March 8 marks International Women’s Day, Elif expressed hope that Syrian women could eventually take part in celebrating it. “I hope that one day, we can also celebrate International Women’s Day like other women in the world and can feel that we are women,” she said. “We just want to be women, to live our lives and to be valued.”