News ID: 277222
Published: 0716 GMT November 24, 2020

Displaced Syria teen recreates Lost family home

Displaced Syria teen recreates Lost family home

Among the olive trees in northwestern Syria, displaced teenager Wissam Diab plucks an oud outside his new home, a tent surrounded by luscious plants.

Inside, there are more tumbling indoor plants and a collection of tiny cacti, as well as dozens of books lined up on a cloth-covered table from authors such as Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Haruki Murakami and Egypt's celebrated Naguib Mahfouz, the only Arab to win the Nobel Prize for literature, AFP reported.

Syria's war forced the Diab family to flee their village of Kafr Zita in central Hama Province, but when 19-year-old Wissam moved into a tent in northwestern Syria he decided to recreate his childhood home.

"It's been four years, and we haven't been able to find a house or go back home," said the young man with green eyes and shoulder-length brown hair.

"What I've done with the tent is me trying to settle down."

And settle down he did in his own tent in an olive grove in the area of Atme, in Idlib Province near the Turkish border, while his parents and two sisters have a separate tent next door.

A patterned stone path leads up to the front door and wooden sticks top the canvas roof.

All around, plants and flowering shrubs thrive in large plastic pots, or in neat rows in the soil of his front garden.

Indoors, he has hung a textile curtain along the tarpaulin wall, and made a small living room with a floor-level sofa.

An ornate red carpet pads out his tent underfoot.

"Our home was like this. We had a garden, we had a library, we had a lot of flowers," he said.

It "was like this, but much, much better".

"Here I had to start again from scratch. I bought plants and books, and built the library up again," he said.

To pass the time, he is also teaching himself to play the oud via tutorials on YouTube.

Diab said many of his neighbors were surprised to see how much energy he had poured into transforming his tent.

"I know we will be here for a while," he said.

So in the meanwhile, he looks after his cacti collection and waters his creeping jasmine.

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