Anas al-Basha, a 24-year-old man, who was known as the clown of Aleppo has been killed. According to several reports, Anas, who was employed as a social worker, died during a missile attack in Mashhad, Syria on Tuesday.
It is believed that the Russian government conducted the strike. In a lengthy Facebook post, Anas’ brother Mahmoud al-Basha, who is a reporter, shared his grief and paid tribute to him.
The editor and cameraman said his brother refused to leave Syria because he wanted to make children smile. He did not mince his words and blamed Bashar Hafez al-Assad, the current president of Syria, and Russia’s Vladimir Putin for the death of his brother and many other Syrians. He stated:
“Assad and Russia are not fighting Isis and retaking towns. The Syrian opposition is doing that while Assad & Russia murder civilians every day.”
During the summer, like thousands of other Syrians, Anas’s family fled the war-torn country, but he decided to stay. On a daily basis, he donned a very bright orange wig, flowery yellow hat, and flamboyant makeup to spread joy and laughter to injured children.
Anas was the director of Space for Hope, one of the handful organizations left in the country that provides counseling and financial support to more than 360 children, who are either orphan or have lost a parent.
Workers from the Space for Hope traveled to schools and hospitals to help the traumatized children. Anas was loved by the little ones for his funny skits and silly dances, which made them briefly forget their pains. Anas leaves a wife behind whom he wed two months ago.
The identity of Mrs. al-Basha has not been revealed to the public for she is still living in Aleppo. Anas’s supervisor, Samar Hijazi, said she will remember her brave and delightful friend. Hijazi said:
“He would act out skits for the children to break the walls between them. All of us in this field (of childcare) are exhausted, and we have to find strength to provide psychological support and continue with our work.”
In his tribute to his late brother, Mahmoud wrote:
“The Russians and Assad regime killed my brother Anas.
Anas who refused to leave Aleppo and decided to stay there to continue his work as a volunteer to help the civilians and give gifts for the children in the streets to bring hope for them.
All that Anas wanted is to bring happiness to the children of Aleppo.
Anas is not a terrorist! He is an active member of the civil society who worked days and nights to bring a smile to the Syrian children.”
He went on to say:
“He lived to make children laugh and happy in the darkest most dangerous place in this world.
I was not able to say the last farewell even my family for him because of Aleppo city is under siege since 112 days.
I am proud of you my brother, GOOD BYE DEAR
May you rest in peace better than brought kindness in a cruel world.”
In the past months, more than 20,000 people have left their homes, while this week, at least 12 people have been killed.