George, Syrian Armed Forces

Joanna Psaros

29 September 2021

Syrian military in Manbij, 2018 (photo via Since Independence)

1. Can you tell us your name, age and location?

My name is George Hanna. I live in Syria. 

I’m 33 years old. I’m single, I have not been married yet. 

2. What was your upbringing and family life like? 

We lived in the hostel; four boys and four girls in addition to my father and mother. We work in agriculture. 

3. What was the hostel like? Did you own a room or was it government owned? 

An old house. The building is now about 70 years old. 

A place owned by the government. In Syria, we have everything that the government owns. 

4. At school, what profession did you want to have when you grew up? 

We all went to school and left because we couldn’t stay because of the high costs. Our household was large was large and my father could not cover the expenses. 

I loved machines, but I could not learn because of the harsh living conditions. 

5. Do you remember the beginning of the war?

The war began in 2011. Of course, I remember it well

6. Have you ever feared for your life or your family’s lives during the conflict?

I never feared for my life, but my family’s lives. I only care about my family. My mother, my father, all my brothers. 

I even hit my hand and my side with cannon fragments during battle and I wasn’t afraid. 

George’s injury after three surgeries

7. How did you come to join the military?

I went to the army to defend the house and my family. The opponents here are all from extremist factions and they want to kill the Christian people. 

8. Are you Christian?


9. Have you been in armed conflict since joining the military?

Wow, so many that I don’t even remember the number. 

The latest started in some remote villages and then spread to the big cities and villages, and then light weapons began to appear, and then they started closing streets and villages, and then sectarian liquidation began.

After this, they started attacking our villages and homes, stealing, burning and killing residents. And some of them kidnapped people and demanded money in exchange for their release. 

10. What do you think about the involvement of international forces such as the US in the conflict?

All outside powers want something from this country. Without that, they would not have been involved. 

The United States is taking oil and gas so far, and Russia has had interests for 100 years. 

Turkey fought the Kurds who threaten its security and annexed a large part of the villages and cities on its borders to its territory.

External powers did not develop, but took advantage of the situation for the benefit of their country. 

11. Have you ever considered leaving Syria for another country? 

Yes, I often think about this, but I can’t at the moment. 

12. If it was possible, where would you move to? 

I don’t know but I want to get out and get away as much as possible. I dream of a country without wars, hunger and injustice. But I hope one day to go to Australia.

13. Do you know anything about the immigration process for migrants to Australia?

I know that they go to Iraq and stay for a year or more. Specifically in the city of Erbil and then they go to Australia. 

14. Have you heard that in Australia, refugees from countries including Syria have been locked up in detention centres if they arrive without a visa?

Yes, I heard.  But even prisons are different. It is enough that they treat the imprisoned person with respect and humanity. 

I agree to detain anyone who enters the country illegally. Because the next people are strangers. They have a completely different culture. 

15. What are the best parts of Syria and Syrian culture?

Now there is nothing, before, there was culture and civilisation. 

16. Do you have any good memories of Syria from before the war? 

Yes, before the war, we used to celebrate and go on trips, to the sea and the mountains, but now this is only possible for the residents of the same areas only.

It was before a lot of festivals, and now it’s numbered and confined. 

17. Does Syria have some beautiful landscapes?

Yes, you can search on Google and see the beautiful scenery

But the nature of your country remains much more beautiful than here. 

18. What are your hopes for your future?

To go home and then migrate. 

19. And what are your hopes for the future of your country?

I only hope love will prevail among the people. Because love is the basis of everything. 

One quarter of Syrian children don’t go to school, and almost half are the sole or joint breadwinner for their family. Help deliver education, protection, and emergency supplies by donating to Unicef’s Syrian Refugee Crisis Appeal.

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