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Miserable `Eid For War-torn Syria

Published: 01/09/2013 12:18:20 AM GMT
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HOMS - Unlike millions of Muslims worldwide, `Eid celebration was a far-fetched dream for Muslims living in war-torn Syria where no celebrations appeared in the silent rubbles of Syrian cities. It's because of the deaths. (more)

HOMS - Unlike millions of Muslims worldwide, `Eid celebration was a far-fetched dream for Muslims living in war-torn Syria where no celebrations appeared in the silent rubbles of Syrian cities.

"It's because of the deaths. We don't celebrate Eid when someone dies,” Mohammed, not his real name, told the BBC on Friday, August 9.

“Everyone knows someone here who has died. I haven't lost anyone in my family but I have lost many friends."

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For Mohammed, this `Eid Al-Fitr was different from the ones he used to celebrate before the Syrian revolution.

On the first day of `Eid, he woke up in the morning and broke his Ramadan fast with day-old bread and a small block of cheese.

Until the start of Syria's uprising in 2011, the 27-year-old's family would gather to break the fast with mountains of sweet meats and cakes, typical of Eid celebrations across the Muslim world.

"My whole family used to go to my grandparents' house and my grandmother would clean for days and make marmoul - a type of sweet pastry made with dates or pistachios," he said.

Like millions of Syrians, Mohammed lives for the dream of removing President Bashar al-Assad and his regime.

He works in social media by promoting the activities of rebels.

"I'm a simple tradesman," he said in a Skype interview.

"I have no political views, but I want freedom for my country.

"Freedom from corruption and the family that has ruled our lives and robbed us of our country for over 40 years," he added.

More than 100,000 people have been killed in two years of between Assad's security forces and opposition forces.

The fighting has forced more than one million Syrians to flee their home to neighboring countries in addition to the displacement of two millions others inside the country.

Refugees Too

Though living hundreds of miles away from Syria raging war, Syrian refugees in Egypt were not much better.

"If I had not have to bring bread to my family, I would have never left my house today," Samer al-Homasi, a Syrian refugee who fled the ongoing deadly conflict in his homeland and sought a safe haven in Egypt, told Anadolu Agency.

Despite the celebratory mood around him, al-Homasi was worried and anxious as he waited for his turn to get bread for his family.

His fears summarized how life changed for Syrians in Egypt since the July 3 ouster of President Mohamed Morsi by the military.

Under Morsi, Egypt's first democratically elected president, Syrians were allowed to enter the country without any visa requirements.

Yet, shortly after his ouster, the authorities began requiring Syrians to obtain paid visas and prior security clearance.

Moreover, media fanned public anger against the Syrian community following accusations of taking part in the pro-Morsi rallies.

"Syrians enjoyed free movement before the recent incidents in Egypt," al-Homasi said.

"Now most Syrians are forced to lay low in accordance with the local saying 'keep away from evil'."

Last month, the rights group Human Rights Watch (HRW) said Egyptian police had arrested over 81 Syrians, including children, in two days with many of them being threatened to be deported.

"Most Syrians do not have residence permits or have expired ones, and that one of the reasons of the arrests by the Egyptian authorities against Syrians, not to mention detention over political affiliation or other charges," al-Homasi said.

The climate of growing hostility drove many Syrians to decide to spend their `Eid at home.

"This Eid is the worst in terms of movement and the psychological mood for Syrians, and even Egyptians," Abdel-Sattar Attiyah said at a café in 6th of October City where many Syrians live.

"The Syrians have been affected by the political turmoil like the Egyptians, but it has been more difficult because the campaign of accusations and incitement against the Syrians as part of the political disputes in Egypt," added Attiyah, who fled to Egypt two years ago after fighting broke out in his home province of Hama.

Reproduced with permission from