Mohammed El Masri

Mohamed was born in January 1987 in Hamah in Syria. He grew up in a family of eight and completed primary school before he dropped out to explore his teenage years, unaware of what the future holds.

Soon enough he realized that staying lazy will not be of benefit while life passes him by. He started planning for the future, and with the onset of the war in Syria in early 2012, he moved to Beirut and settled in Mar Mikhael area. He started working in construction and tiling.

On August 4, 2020, after a long day at work, Mohamed arrived home to take some rest. Suddenly, a loud noise was heard along with the sound of fireworks, and Mohamed rushed to the building’s roof and saw a huge fire at the port of Beirut. After the first explosion, he thought it was an Israeli attack on the capital, and he ran inside. When the second explosion happened, he fell to the ground, unconscious.

His cousin Nour found him covered in blood in the rubble, and he rushed him to Mount Lebanon hospital where he regained consciousness. Nour always reminds him that when he was taking him to the hospital he was saying: “God please let me die, I can’t take any more pain.” In fact, Mohamed’s injury was quite severe, and his chances of survival were almost inexistent, he looked dead. In addition to the glass embedded in his body, Mohamed suffered from 13 fractures to his left ribs and 11 fractures to his right ones. His lungs were severely damaged, and his right hand required a surgical intervention. His left shoulder was also fractured, and he sustained hearing loss.

Mohamed stayed at the hospital for almost 15 days until he began to recover, especially that he was breathing through special tubes; he was discharged on the condition that he would follow-up on his treatment. When he tried to do so, he faced financial constraints, as he lost his physical health, his home, his job, and the government was unable to provide him with proper medical coverage, and without any potential financial support, he was burdened with debt.

A year after the explosion, Mohamed decided to go back to Syria after he lost his job, and his ability to work, due to his incapacitating injuries.

During a phone call with him, he said that he loved Lebanon, and that his stay in the country has helped him improve his, and his family’s, financial situation, but after the explosion he was unable to fend for himself, and he worried about his medical condition, while his family lost their breadwinner.

Moreover, following a doctor visit in Syria to have the metal plates removed from his hand, the doctor confirmed that removing those plates would negatively impact his medical condition, and he could 90% suffer from a permanent disability.

Currently, Mohamed is stuck at the border in Edleb, between Syria and Turkey, and after 12 years apart from his family, he is still unable to return to his hometown in Hamah in light of the military situation in the area. Furthermore, he can’t come back to Lebanon due to his deteriorating medical condition which prevents him from working, he finishes saying: “Thank God for everything, I died and came back to life, but I am struggling to survive.”