Man walks in on his own funeral after 36 hours stuck under rubble in wake of Douma bombing

Mohammed Rayhan's story is all too familiar, activists say

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A man who was presumed dead after the bombing of a busy marketplace in Syria has woken up and returned home to walk in on his own funeral.

Mohammed Rayhan was stood in the marketplace at Douma, near Damascus, on Sunday when it was shelled by government forces.

The latest death toll from the attack – and a subsequent air raid while bodies were still being recovered – stands at 117, including 16 children and seven women, activists say.

Mr Rayhan’s family believed after he failed to come home from the market that he was among that number, and began mourning him that day.

But on Tuesday morning, around 36 hours after the bombing, Mr Rayhan woke up, escaped the rubble and made his way home – with dust still covering his hair and beard.

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Mohammed Rayhan surrounded by family members who thought he was dead

Wakes typically last three days – and according to Middle East Eye, Mr Rayhan arrived just in time to interrupt the final day of his own.

His story was reported by the Eastern Ghouta branch of the Local Coordination Committees of Syria, a network of opposition activists. It carried images on its Facebook page showing Mr Rayhan with delighted family members who moments before had been mourners.

While Mr Rayhan’s story sounds extraordinary, the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said it is the sort of thing that “happens many times in Syria now”.

“Lots of people go missing, get lost in rubble, and only turn up later,” Rami Abdurrahman, the activist group’s director, told The Independent.

“It often happens with children – I have heard of three-year-old children who have been mourned by their families and then found alive in rubble.”

Opposition leaders have condemned the Douma bombing, which involved at least six missiles fired by the Syrian army, as a shocking assault on a densely-populated residential area.

Stephen O’Brien, the UN’s most senior humanitarian official, said he was “appalled” by the total disrespect for civilian life “on both sides” and “reports of air strikes causing scores of civilian deaths”.

The regime has said the bombing was in response to the mortars that exploded in central Damascus last week, killing six people.

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