Trinidad nationals might be among 200 killed in Syria

U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighters pose for a photo on a rooftop overlooking Baghouz, Syria (AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo)

(Trinidad Newsday) With last Monday’s bombing by US-backed Syrian forces of the two remaining ISIS-controlled villages in which 200 men, women and children were reportedly killed, some families in TT fear their loved ones who migrated to Syria and Iraq might be among the dead.

A family who spoke anonymously to Sunday Newsday yesterday, said, “I know of two children killed this week who were from here. We know the families but waiting for more information.”

The last three days have seen the final pockets of ISIS resistance bombed by US-led coalition war planes, liberating the town of Baghuz al-Fawqani, Syria.

US president Donald Trump issued a statement on Friday congratulating the coalition forces on ending the rule of ISIS’ so-called caliphate in Syria and Iraq.

It is a video clip of Monday’s bombings which has plunged the TT families into mourning. Filmed with a cell phone by a group of women with thick TT accents, they expressed fears as they seemed to be close enough to the plumes of smoke billowing in the air and the sound of gunfire.

One of them says to another woman with a TT accent, “Is real people gong and dead dey girl.”

The video is not posted on social media and Newsday was told yesterday that it was sent only to certain relatives in TT. Women, men and children are then seen running out from tents and attempting to flee as the smoke from what appears to be aerial bombings, draws closer.

International news agencies reported this week that during the course of the Syrian Democratic Forces inroads which started on Monday, to seize the last speck of ISIS villages, thousands of men, women and children of the militants families, had surrendered. Those who remained, were cornered and could not get out.

The video clip ends with the woman expressing her fears to the other woman who is apparently next to her, “Is ah matter ah time it go come here. Everybody running from the tents…and it falling…..”

Attorney Nafeesa Mohammed who has been offering legal advice to some TT families seeking to have their loved ones, mainly children, repatriated back to TT, said that she was told yesterday that among the 200 casualties, “there could be some of our nationals.”

Mohammed said, “I cannot confirm anything, but I’ve heard something very troubling to us.”

National Security Minister Stuart Young said that there had been no recent information for Government to assess what has been happening in the battlegrounds in Syria and Iraq. “We depend, to a large extent, on international agencies to provide us with information as to what is accurate on the battlefront and camps in these conflict zones.”

He called on TT families to provide the authorities with information about their relatives in Syria and Iraq. “Additionally, families who may have family members in these zones should provide the authorities with information and evidence surrounding their family members in these conflict zones,” Young said.

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