The first truly heartwarming video from Syria in a long time

August 27, 2013

A video from the Syrian town of Zamalka purports to show a father reuniting with a son he thought he'd lost. (YouTube)

The videos out of Syria over the past two years of war have been so horrific, and so numerous, that Secretary of State John Kerry mentioned them multiple times in making his implicit case for likely U.S.-led military strikes against Syria. They've been an important tool for documenting the conflict as well as communicating, through individual stories and moments, the human toll of the war.

So it's a relief and a delight to see this video, apparently from the southwestern Syrian town of Zamalka, that was posted online Monday by Syrian activists. The footage purports to show a father reuniting with his young son, who he thought had been killed, as thousands of Syrian children have been, in a recent attack by regime forces.

The man who first appears when the video opens isn't the father – he's someone else, perhaps another relative. It's not until a minute in that the boy's father appears, his face twisted in joy, running out of the house to see his son.

Even if you don't speak a word of Arabic, the family's body language says everything. There is a lot of crying and hugging and grateful recitations of the Takbir ("Allahu akbar!" or "God is great!"). If you can hold it together through all seven minutes, you're stronger than I am. But this video provides a welcome, if all too rare, moment of solace and joy in a war that has had precious little of either.

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Max Fisher | August 27, 2013