Ramtha: The family crept across farmland under night’s cover, heading for the border, when Syrian troops opened fire.
Bullets whizzed around them as they broke into a mad dash, survivors say. The 6-year-old boy, holding his mother’s hand, broke away and ran ahead. He nearly made it into Jordan when he fell dead, a bullet in his neck.
The boy, killed in the early hours of Friday, was the first Syrian shot to death by border guards while trying to escape into neighboring Jordan from the bloodshed of their homeland’s 17-month-old uprising against President Bashar Assad.
The slaying underlined not only the dangerous of the passage, but the fine line Syria’s neighbors have to tread in trying to help Syrians while avoiding being dragged into the conflict.
Bilal el-Lababidi and his parents were in a group of around a dozen Syrians trying to sneak into Jordan just after midnight, the latest of more than 140,000 Syrians who have taken refuge in the kingdom.
“He is a martyr who is now in a better place. I’m sure he is in heaven,” said el-Lababidi’s mother before the boy’s burial later on Friday at a cemetery in the northern Jordanian city of Ramtha. She made it across with her two younger sons but her husband fled back amid the shooting.
“The criminal Bashar is the reason,” she said, slapping her face with her fists as she wept. She wore a veil over her face and a traditional Muslim head-to-toe robe. “Bashar is killing his people and the whole world is watching and doing
She would only identify herself as Umm Bilal, or “mother of Bilal,” as conservative women often do in public rather than using their real names.
The family Bilal’s father, mother and their three sons were fleeing from their southern Syrian hometown of Daraa, which was where their country’s uprising began 17 months ago and which has continued to be a major battleground between rebels and regime forces.