Syrian teen Ala’a was out playing with friends in Homs when an explosion threw him across the street and changed his life forever.
The 15-year-old sustained a serious spinal injury and, after an infection took hold, was left unable to walk. He remembers nothing but a flash and suffering ‘a fever’ from which his legs did not recover.
His father Yasser Mahmoud told HuffPost UK: “In Homs, we were affected a lot because of the bombings, the Syrian regime, the barrels and guns. We were trapped and they were hitting us from the east and west, and my son Ala’a was walking then.
“When the missile hit usm my son was playing on the path. He was 50 meters away from it, when the missile hit, my son flew and fell on the ground.
“After the explosion, I went crazy. I ran and held my son, then he started crying. He was a child.”
Doctors told Ala’a that he may be left paralysed by his injuries. The family quickly resolved set off on foot to Jordan.
His father said: “The journey was really difficult from Syria to here
I was carrying him for one month on the road while it was raining.”
Ala’a’s father carried him the final stretch to the Berm up a mountain before the Jordanian army stepped in to help.
Ala’a said: “I remember it was raining and the Jordanian army helped us to cross the border.”
His disability means extremists would attempt to target him but, as it is, he spends every day at the UNICEF Makani centre playing football, table tennis and chess. He is whip-smart with a cheeky grim and a nervous laugh.
His dad said: “Because of the bombing and explosion, he cannot remember much of what happened. He was really affected by it all.
“But Ala’a is the smartest among his brothers. His brain is a computer.”
Ala’a longs to walk again but his deepest desire is to return to Syria as a fully-trained engineer ready to play his part in rebuilding his home.
“I would like to walk again and to be an engineer, a construction engineer, so I can help to rebuild Syria.”
He adds, perhaps speaking for all of the 5.5 million forced from their country by the war: “I wish that everything returns to normal in Syria and that we all return to our country in safety. That’s it.”