Syria Chemical Attack: Stories of Survivors

“I started to feel the effects of the gas. But I couldn’t just leave people in the streets.

Earlier this week, CNN shared horrifying footage of people dying in last month’s chemical attack in Syria. Over the past few weeks, we’ve received similar footage from our friends in Syria. It is hard to watch. Not everyone should watch it.

We’ve chosen not to share this footage because such heartbreaking images can overwhelm some people to the point that they feel paralyzed. Instead, we want to motivate you to action by sharing some of the people who survived the attack.

We want you to hear their stories—so you can remember that this is not over for them. Not by a long shot. They need you to keep showing up.

The pain of the chemical attack is still etched on the faces of survivors. But the crisis didn’t end once the lethal gas had dissipated. Airstrikes still pound the area. Our team has met displaced families who fled and were promised shelter—but never saw that promise fully materialize.

Some families chose to stay in the ill-equipped displacement camps, fearing it was too dangerous to go home—either because of continued airstrikes or chemical residue.

Others, like the boy in the video below, went back—because they had nowhere else to go.

“We live close to where the chemical attack took place. Some people came to help, but they ended up fainting too. So we packed and went to the camps. Some people said they’d give us tents, but they didn’t. So we went back.”

Immediately following the attack last month, much of the response focused on emergency medical care. But after their urgent medical needs were met, people faced a long road to full recovery.

You’re helping meet the ongoing, longer-term needs of affected families—by providing food and cooking equipment for those displaced or injured in the attack, hygiene kits to safely decontaminate the homes of those who return, and training on how to protect themselves in the event of another chemical attack.

You’re showing up for survivors like Ziad and his family…

“My family and I were there when the chemical attack happened…

We went to a shelter we had dug at our neighbor’s place. I took my wife, my children, and my sister’s family. We went to the shelter. I left them there and went to the affected area. I didn’t know at the time that it was a chemical attack.

Then I noticed people fainting while they were walking. Then others started to shout, “Gas attack!”

I started to feel the effects of the gas. But I couldn’t just leave people in the streets. I couldn’t tell if they were dead already or still alive.

Some of us started to help. We knocked on houses to get people out. When no one answered, we broke in. We learned that so many people had died.”

We must not look away or forget these people. Their stories matter. Their lives matter. They are worthy of our love.

Thank you for showing up with your tangible acts of love—and reminding survivors of this attack that they are not alone or forgotten, even when the rest of the world has moved on.

Keep showing up for families affected by chemical warfare. Sponsor or donate today.