Only days ago, the last pianist in the embattled Palestinian refugee camp Yarmouk, Ayyam al-Ahmad, was posting videos online in which he gave a voice to the residents' suffering. Sadly, his precious instruments were burned by Islamist militants this weekend.
Local sources told Ynet that on Friday the Palestinian musician, who is the last member of his Youth of Yarmouk band still in the Damascus camp, attempted with friends to move some of his instruments outside of the camp, to a neighboring town in Syria because they were in danger of being destroyed by Syrian military shelling.
On the way out of the camp, Ahmad and his friends reached a roadblock manned by Islamists, apparently from Jabhat al-Nusra, with a wagon containing the instruments. After inquiring about the contents, the Islamists poured gasoline and burned the instruments. They were worth about two million Syria pounds – slightly less than 25,000 euros.
"Music is forbidden, but what they are doing to us is not," said the local sources.
When Ahmad and his friends returned, sources in Yarmouk said, they closed Ahmad's music store out of concern that it would be a target.
"The situation is beginning to frighten us. They even want to take music away from us," said the sources. They are anxious about the future, but said they wanted to keep playing music "so (the Islamist militants) don't take away the camp's voice. We will fight to use music to spread the word of the suffering in the camp."
The incident was reported by media outlets inside the camp and those affiliated with the Syrian opposition, but could not be independently verified.
A Syrian opposition site claimed those behind the burning were members of the camp who had joined the Islamic State group. A local told Ynet recently that al-Nusra operatives warned the band two months ago not to play in the street, and said they would not show mercy next time.