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World

Voices From Syria

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

We're going to turn now to the situation in Syria. Twenty-year-old Mahmoud Bwedany was in the town of Douma last weekend when Syrian government forces began their assault.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

MAHMOUD BWEDANY: The shelling started on Friday and gradually escalated. It was horrifying. It was very heavy - the shelling. They used artillery and airstrikes. They also - on Saturday, it was the chemical weapons.

NOEL KING, HOST:

All right. Now, the Syrian government denies using chemical weapons. Experts are still trying to confirm if they were indeed used. But experts say that the victim symptoms do seem consistent with exposure to a nerve agent. Bwedany says Saturday's attacks came at a time when a lot of people were not close to shelter.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

BWEDANY: Most of the families were out of the basements because the situation was calm before that. So they thought that it's safe to get to the outside. So when the shelling started, everyone got down to their basement. Families got separated for that day.

GREENE: Now, Douma has fallen now to government forces. More than 13,000 people had left the town earlier this month under a deal brokered by the Russian military, with 1,500 leaving just in the past 24 hours.

KING: Mouaid El Deen, a 29-year-old father of two, has already left the region.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

MOUAID EL DEEN: Hi, my friend. I have been evacuated from Douma to a northern area in Syria. It's a camp. There's a tent to contain the evacuated people. It's really devastating the circumstances. It's 36 hours on the road, no break. Really, it's a hard thing to feel with. You have a family, and you have two kids with you. It's really hard.

(SOUNDBITE OF THE END OF THE OCEAN'S "ON THE LONG ROAD HOME")

KING: Those were some voices out of Syria after a suspected chemical attack last weekend.

(SOUNDBITE OF THE END OF THE OCEAN'S "ON THE LONG ROAD HOME") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.