In a tragedy that shook the town of Koura in North Lebanon, three sisters from the Koura village of Bziza were found dead on the Syrian coast of Tartus after having been missing for days.
Details surrounding the death of sisters Carole, 26, Ayda, 17, and Mirna, 16, are shadowed by mystery and many unknowns. The961 reached out to a relative of the girls who told us what is known so far.
The girls were last seen by their family on Sunday, March 28th. On that day, they left their home saying to their parents that they were just going to pick up sandwiches and come back.
The girls arrived in the coastal city of Chekka where they reportedly enjoyed a “shisha and Pepsi” according to the family member. Carole, the eldest, had also messaged a friend saying she was smoking shisha and would be heading home soon.
But here’s where the story takes a dark turn clouded in mystery.
That night, the girls’ mother receives two voice messages from Mirna, the youngest, who sounded like she had been crying. But it was what she said in the voice message that was most concerning.
In the first voice message, she says, “Don’t be sad for us. We love you a lot. Don’t cry for us. Do you hear this sound? This is the sound of the sea. Forgive us. We hope this way our father will love you more and there won’t be any more problems.”
In the second voice message, she says, “Don’t worry, we are not running away with some boys or anything like that. We love you a lot. Please forgive us.”
It is worth mentioning that the girls, although dearly loved by both their parents, grew up in a troubled household and had a strict and conservative lifestyle.
After the voice messages were sent, all communication with the girls was cut off and a search for the girls was launched.
Desperate to find them, the family spread a picture of them on social media with a few phone numbers in case anyone has seen them.
On Tuesday, a mysterious caller claimed he had the girls. When told he would be paid to bring them back, he refused. He said he didn’t want money and threatened to shoot the girls if the mother kept asking questions or told the police.
The same person kept calling from different numbers taunting the family. At one point he even video called, without showing his face, and while smoking shisha, to threaten that he would “carry them dead all the way to Syria.”
According to the relative in contact with The961, the Lebanese authorities were able to detain this mysterious caller to put him under interrogation. However, according to our source, the authorities released him.
At that point, and with the mysterious caller now in the picture, the family was still not certain whether or not the girls had been kidnapped or had run away at their own will.
To add to the confusion, local media outlets picked up the story and began reporting false claims such as that the girls ran away from their abusive father, which according to their relative is far from the truth.
“[News channel] claimed that the neighbors would often hear the girls screaming from inside their house. This is not even possible because their home is secluded and there is a long path to even get to their house,” said the relative, debunking false claims.
Other news sites went as far as to claim the girls, together, had taken their own lives – which the family finds least likely.
It wasn’t until Friday night that the family learned the girls’ bodies had been found on a beach in Tartus, Syria.
This opened up a new scenario that the girls might have tried to flee Lebanon by boat and got caught in the storm that passed over Lebanon last week.
However, the family member speaking to us wondered, “Had they fallen off a ship and drowned, how could they have washed up on the same beach? And where is the ship’s captain?”
Their bodies have since been brought to Lebanon and the family is still waiting for the coronor to determine the cause of death. They hope to have closure soon.
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