“We have seen terrible things. Terrible,” says eight-year-old Bassam. “There were tanks everywhere, and from our house we constantly heard the sound of rifles.”
Though the scene is from recent memory, it could describe most of his childhood.
Bassam and his family – father Ali Mohammed, mother Nour, and brother Kinan – are originally from Syria, but they have lived in Libya for the past five years.
They left their war-torn country in search of a better life. But after years of moving from city to city, they have only been met with more pain.
Escape from Ghouta
In Syria, the family lived in Ghouta, an area outside the capital of Damascus, and Ali worked hard to build a future for his young family. He took care of his parents, too, both of them sick.
Shortly after the war began, his father's health worsened, and the whole family travelled to Egypt for his treatment. Ali hoped they could return home afterward. It was 2013.
But the situation in Syria was getting worse each day. When the siege of Ghouta began, Ali's family knew they couldn’t go back.
After a year in Egypt, they decided to move once again. Friends told Ali that he could easily find a job in Libya, that the country was optimistically facing the democratic transition from the Gaddafi era.
There was no way of knowing that Libya was about to fall into a new civil war.