“I pray every day for the souls of the dead and I read the Quran every morning, but something is wrong with my heart.”
The woman speaking is a mother of three kids. She is from the coastal province of Latakia.
“I come from the village of Jabal al Akrad (the mountain of Kurds). My home was shelled, like most of the homes on the mountain. I lost a lot of my neighbours. I love my village because I was born there, and every time I go there, I remember my childhood memories. I wonder now, if I should return to sit with the other women there, what sort of conversations would take place? A lot of them have lost someone they love. How can we talk about simple things again?”
The woman migrated to Istanbul few months ago. It has been difficult for her to cope with the new place, and perhaps the new life too.
As is always the case in Syrian households, Al Jazeera TV channel accompanies us through the evening. She has made us some delicious spinach pies. I tell her in Damascus, we put some pomegranate in spinach pies. She jokes that people do not know how to cook there.
I laugh my heart out. She concludes: “We are all one in Syria – we just like to make fun of each other whenever there is a chance.”
Getting to know each other seems to be the first positive outcome of the upheaval. Syrian society has been divided for so long.
I ask her if I may smoke a cigarette and we go to the window. They live in a fifth floor apartment in Fındıkzade and it has a nice view of Süleymaniye mosque. She says: “My son had to find a place fast. I do not like it that much. My place back in Latakia is much better. I wish I could go back there.”
“Are you planning to settle here?” I press her. “I do not know,” she says. “I am waiting for the end of the war.”