by Joe Leogue
The Irish-Kuwaiti man at the centre of a Turkish street fight video which went viral has broken his silence about the melee and revealed that he is in Turkey to help his mother escape from Syria.
Mohammed Fadel Dobbous told RTÉ Radio 1 he reached for a bottle of water in a streetside fridge in Istanbul, which sent more bottles spilling out. He went to apologise to the shopkeeper, but the fight was sparked.
“I went back to the shop and said: ‘I want to apologise or pay whatever the damage is,’ and the next thing he was out with a stick, and you know the rest,” he said.
The video shows how a number of men then took him on. “In the moment of the mayhem, everyone was around you, you don’t know who was your friend or your enemy,” he said.
He said he tried to reason with his attackers but they either did not understand him or did not listen.
Mr Fadel Dobbous, who holds an Irish passport, said he suffered a number of injuries, delaying him in rescuing his mother from Syria. “I was supposed to go back on the 8th of August, but my mum lives in Damascus and I’m trying to get her over the border from Syria to Turkey safely,” he said.
“She is over 90 now and she is in a wheelchair. So I needed someone to help cross over. The stretch is 2km and it’s all stones and big rocks so she can’t really walk over and you can’t have a wheelchair go there.”
This story first appeared in the Irish Examiner