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The Syrian Girl Whose Dad Taught Her To Laugh At The Sound Of Bombs Has Reached Safety In Turkey

Three-year-old Salwa's dad was praised for trying to protect his daughter from the trauma of war. The family has now found a new home outside of Syria.

Posted on March 4, 2020, at 7:23 a.m. ET

Ghaith Alsayed / AP

Abdullah Mohammed and his daughter, three-year-old Salwa.

A 3-year-old Syrian girl whose father taught her to laugh at the sounds of bombs landing near their home has reached safety in Turkey.

Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency said Salwa and her parents crossed into Turkey on Feb. 25, and the UK's Guardian newspaper said the family had found a new home in the city of Antakya.

A video of Salwa and her dad Abdullah Mohammed giggling as explosions can be heard in the background went viral last month. People praised Mohammed for trying to protect his daughter from the trauma of war, even as the video provided a telling reminder of the horrors faced by children in Syria.

“Is that a plane or a bomb?” Mohammed asks his daughter in the video, which was filmed in Idlib.

She responds, “A shell, and when it falls, we will laugh!”

Through a relentless bombing campaign on Idlib this Syrian father has been teaching his daughter to laugh when she hears explosions.

Mohammed said he used Salwa's memory of children setting off fireworks during Eid al-Fitr to turn the trauma of being shelled into a game for his daughter.

Idlib, in northwestern Syria, is the last major rebel-held stronghold in the country. Fierce fighting has been taking place between Turkish-backed rebels and Syrian armed forces supported by Russia.

Around 1 million people have been displaced since the campaign began according to UN estimates, but many more remain trapped in Idlib and the surrounding province.

“Now, my daughter will be able to go to school. I hope that the conflict in Syria can soon end and that I can return,” Mohammed told Anadolu.

Ghaith Alsayed / AP

Daughter and dad play inside a house the family fled to last month, on the Syrian side of the border with Turkey.

The Guardian's Bethan McKernan said she saw Salwa dancing around her new home in a pink princess dress.

"For the first time ever, she can laugh at normal things," she wrote.

I am happy to report that 3-year-old Salwa and her parents have made it safely out of Idlib to Turkey. The family made headlines for a game where dad Abdullah got Salwa to laugh at falling bombs to protect her from trauma. For the first time ever, she can laugh at normal things.

Last month 33 Turkish soldiers were killed in an attack by Syrian government forces, in a major escalation of the conflict.

Since then, Turkey — the world's largest host of refugees — has said it will no longer prevent migrants within its borders from trying to enter the European Union, leading to dramatic and violent clashes at the border with Greece.

Later this month will mark nine years since the Syrian war began.



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