“Forget about it, I’m not afraid of [war] planes or cluster bombs,” boasts a boy playing soccer after one of his friends tells him they are suspending the match to attend a safety presentation in a YouTube video uploaded by Daraa’s Civil Defense on Sunday. One minute later, ignoring his friend’s advice, the same boy is unable to recognize a cluster munition that fell on the small paved area they use as a soccer field somewhere in Daraa. He picks it up, and the device detonates.
“We have lost a lot of children in the last year because they don’t know anything about cluster munitions or mines,” Sajida Abdulrahman, a Civil Defense volunteer in Daraa, told Syria Direct on Monday.
“A child was playing just a short distance in front of me, his name was Muhammed al-Naqawa, and he was killed because he toyed with an unexploded cluster munition,” the video’s creator, Nibras al-Hourani, told Syria Direct on Monday about why he filmed the public-service announcement.
The Civil Defense PSA represents a cautionary tale for Syria’s youth with a safety instructional video sandwiched in the middle. The nearly three-minute video is part of an awareness campaign by the Civil Defense in Daraa to explain the danger of unexploded munitions to children. It also instructs them to drop to the ground, roll to the side and cover their ears during an air raid.
The Civil Defense, the emergency response organization in opposition-controlled parts of Syria, has taken on the additional task of ordnance disposal and safety training for civilians since Russia began intense air raids on Syria in September.
“The biggest challenge we face in getting across an accurate idea about these bombs is the lack of trained staff,” said video director Nibras.
“We are trying to reach the most number of kids possible in liberated areas despite the constraints we face,” said Civil Defense volunteer Sajida Abdulrahman.
-Photo courtesy of Civil Defense Daraa Province