For the past two days, Malik Ibrahim has been spending his time picking up rubble in a town in northern Syriain search of thirty relatives buried under the ruins.
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At the moment, and with the help of neighbors and rescuers, he has already managed to remove ten corpses from the ruins in the town from Besnaya, near the border with Turkey. The devastating spectacle of the destroyed houses contrasts with the serenity of the neighboring olive groves.
Malik removes the rubble one by one, with the help of a shovel or with his bare hands, barely protected by gloves. He searches for his uncle, his cousin, and their respective families.
they all stayed buried under the roof and walls of his building, now a mass of rubble topped with solar panels.
“An entire family has left. It is an extermination"Malik Ibrahim told AFP, his face livid and covered in dust.
As he picks up rubble, the 40-year-old loses hope and breaks down in tears.
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“Every time we remove a corpse I remember the good times we had together; We laughed and made jokes." says.
But that won't come back to occur. We're separated. They are in the afterlife and we are here. We won't see each other again."
On Monday at dawn, when the earthquake of magnitude 7.8 shook the area, Malik, his wife and their eight children fled their home in the city of Idlib.
Under torrential rain, he was relieved to be alive, as were his wife and children.
But soon after he learned that his relatives de Besnaya had suffered a very different fate.
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"Our memories are buried"
He immediately went to townabout 40 km from his home, and since then he has not slept.
“Twenty people remain under the rubble. I have no words, it is a catastrophe. Our memories are buried with them. We are a town wrecked in every sense of the word.".
Malik Ibrahim says that years ago he was forced to leave his previous home to take refuge in Idlib, due to the civil war that since 2011 left around half a million dead.
In the midst of the ruins, dozens of neighbors, combatants, volunteers and humanitarian aid workers have gathered in the hope of finding survivors.
Every time one of them is taken out, shouts of joy are heard.
He earthquakewith its epicenter in Turkey, caused at least 11,700 deaths in total in both countries, of which more than 2,600 in Syria.