To locked-down London, a letter of hope from Raqqa in Syria …

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Helen Patuck met Khaled a year ago while working in Syria. Here he shares a message of solidarity and practical advice on how to keep hopes up when it isn’t safe to leave home.

This is an article from the current issue of Middle East Solidarity magazine – help us continue our work by donating £2 for a digital copy online

25th March, 2020

Raqqa, Syria

Hi Helen,  

I am very glad that you and your family are fine and I assure you that there is no Coronavirus in northeastern Syria at the moment, knowing that I have taken all medical precautions to prevent Coronavirus. I am happy to help you with some information about how to live at home for a long time without worry because I have done this for 3 years while ISIS has been in Raqqa.

First, you should set a daily programme of tasks to do at home on a daily basis. Every day I used to make something new at home in order to keep my daughter and wife calm, like I am doing a play with my wife in order to make my daughter happy, and I make sweets by hand for my wife. Sometimes I burnt the cakes but my wife rejoices in this because I try to do something she loves and my daughter too.

Therefore, I used to tire a lot of days and nights in order to make them happy, as I was the source that gives love and hope in their hearts, and I used to play the role of the father for my wife, the role of the friend and the beloved, and I played the clown for my daughter until I saw her laughing every day.

To start with, you should practice your hobbies, such as drawing or reading, or any other thing you would love to do, and talk to your family about hope and the coming days that will be much better than these days. This situation is temporary and will not last long. I told my daughter that schools will return and a happy life will come in coming days, and in light of the Coronavirus, I always alert my wife every morning about washing my hands well, and not approaching patients and people with diseases similar to the look of the Coronavirus, and preventing any sick person from entering my house and making sure to wash the food for cooking, and cooking well before eating. I am on the clock to monitor my daughter and prevent her playing outside the home. I sterilise before for game play outside and sterilise after the end of play and buy lemons and oranges because they contain a lot of vitamin C, which eliminates bacteria.

I pray in every healing prayer for every patient in the world from the Coronavirus and I hope that you are always fine and I pray for you to be happy because you are my friend and because you are a person who loves to do good and to deliver happiness to everyone’s hearts. I hope to meet you very soon. If you need anything, let me know, it is a pleasure to offer you any help you need, your friend,



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