NICOSIA, Cyprus — No one knows how long little Bushr Al Tawashi wandered alone in the rubble of his home in the Syrian capital before rebel fighters found the toddler and handed him over to another family to look after him.
Now, the 2-year-old is back with his parents, who believed he had been killed.
In their chaotic haste to escape fighting between government troops and Syrian rebels, Bushr’s parents had assumed the boy was picked up by other members of their extended family who were staying with them when clashes broke out last summer in Damascus.
Fighting prevented the parents from going back to search for Bushr once they arrived at a refugee camp and realized he was missing, said Stella Constantinou, a Cypriot lawyer.
Believing he did not survive the shelling, the boy’s grief-stricken father, Machhour Al Tawashi, and his wife, Arin Al Dakkar, arrived in Cyprus on Aug. 6 with their two other sons, ages 4 and 6, in search of asylum.
Word that the boy was safe eventually reached the parents, who now live in the coastal town of Limassol.
Al Tawashi said someone had recognized Bushr, since everyone knows each other in their tight-knit community, and called the family in Cyprus to deliver the good news.