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The Syrian striker explains how football is fervently followed back home, while footballers escape the carnage to play in the Lebanese league...

Amad Ahmad Al Kaddour, the Syrian international who is latest of acquisitions by Churchill Brothers for the 2013-14 edition of the I-League has opened up to living conditions and football in his nation.

It is a well-known fact that Syria has been plunged into a civil war between forces loyal to President Bashar Al-Assad and the rebel groups that are intent on ousting him. Almost 18 months into the war and a peaceful solution seems no closer, though Al Kaddour is optimistic about an accord being struck, that will put an end to the strife.

In his first interview after arriving in India, Al Kaddour has revealed that his family is still holed up in the violence ravaged nation and though moving to India has brought about an ease he has been unfamiliar with, he hopes and prays his family are in good hands.

“My city Aleppo has turned into a battlefield. I urge Indians to pray for my family’s safety and well-being,” humbly stated Amad, to The DNA,  after  touching down on September the 14th.

Shedding light on the extent of the violence, especially on the civilians nestled between the warring factions, Al Kaddour revealed, “During a practice session, we were hit by missiles and gunfire, and my goalkeeper was injured in the firing that went for over an hour. We had to run for shelter. I would not like to comment on the war or about President Assad, as I fear my family members could be harmed.”

“I only pray that this war ends as I want to go back and play for my country,” hoped Amad, who says that football is revered and worshipped in his country.

“The war has taken a heavy toll on the footballers in Aleppo, where shooting and bombing is very common. The recent blast has left Ahmad Al Obid, a goalkeeper of the Karama Club and national team, seriously injured. He has been ruled out of the game. It was also very sad when our national player Zakaria Yusuf lost his life,” sombrely added the Syrian.

Clearly wanting to re-enforce faith in the management, Amad emanated, “I am thankful to Churchill Brothers for giving me this opportunity and I will give my best for the club. It’s a pleasure for me to be part of this wonderful club which has seen so much success in the Indian football.”

Churchill Brothers’ coach Mariano Dias though has explained, “Ahmad is one of the best players of the side, but he is doubtful for the opener against Salgaocar as he is yet to get familiar with other players in the side.”

According to Amad, several Syrian players have escaped to neighbouring Lebanon where as many as 30 Syrian nationals ply their trade in the Lebanon league.

Syria has a large football fan following where the national league and the national team are followed keenly by all and sundry. The nation’s league ended just days ago, had ten participating teams. Al Shorta, who incidentally are Ahmad’s club too, take part in the AFC Cup with home matches carried out in Lebanon.

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