Famous for its revolutionary persistence and the notorious atrocities it has endured, the city of Homs tirelessly returns to its lively creativity as soon as the violence eases up ever so slightly.
After shelling on al-Wa’er neighbourhood in Homs stopped following the December 2015 truce between regime and opposition, the 1,800 meter Freedom Marathon was organized with more than 200 youths and children, according to the announcement made by Abu Faisal, head of the media office of the Homs Civil Assembly.
In addition to the traditional function of the marathon as an annual sporting event usually ending with the awarding of prizes to the winners, the Assembly wanted to send out two messages through this particular event: The first is a call to FIFA to reconsider holding the Football World Cup in Russia while it continues to bomb Syrian civilians. The second is a demand that the UN fulfill the truce agreement to deliver medications into al-Wa’er. Since 7 January 2016, food, fuel and electric items had been allowed in, but no medical supplies yet.
Mrs. Manal Barakat, who lives in al-Wa’er, told SyriaUntold that the voices of the children filled up the neighborhood, reviving a hope that life will go on despite everything. The kids were seen from the balconies overlooking the street between the school and the station, as they ran back toward the sport grounds. An awards ceremony was held soon after, during which cash awards and certificates were handed to the top 10 winning boys and girls.
In addition to its health benefits, the Marathon has positive contributions to organizing group activities through sports. But most importantly, it succeeded in reviving some joy in the little hearts through an activity well detached from the ongoing violence. It is the second Marathon of its kind to be held in al-Wa’er. The first was organized in 2014 by the Civil Assembly whilst the neighborhood was besieged by the regime, enduring clashes between it and rebel forces inside Wa’er.