“As if I am a child who saw something he loved very much for the first time after a long absence,” says Um Mohammed, a woman in her thirties, wishing that her city Idlib becomes better than it was once, especially as its clock adorns now the city square.
In the city of Idlib, visitors gathered in the clock square to celebrate its restoration. The most prominent scene around it was “Selfie, Ice Cream and Walking,” in which dozens of the city’s residents took part in, recalling pictures that resided in their memories few years ago. Although the war has torn these pictures apart, they came alive again.
Tens of cameras spotted the main features of the city (the clock) after turning it as it was years ago to become like the lighthouse in the center of Idlib. It is one of the city’s ornamentation projects that the “Violet” organization is working on, in cooperation with the city council that was formed earlier this year.
The Largest Campaign in Idlib
Three months of work were crowned by the renewal of the clock on Wednesday, May 24th during the “Rabee Idlib” campaign, which proceeds with other adornment projects in the city, according to the administration of “Violet” organization which described it as “the largest” campaign over the previous years.
On 18 January, Idlib witnessed the election of the representatives of the City Council. The Council’s mission is to fully receive service and civil service cases from the administration of Jaish al- Fatah Army (The Army of Conquest), which had been operating in the city since the opposition factions took control of these cases in March 2015.
Renovating the roads and sidewalks was the result of stopping the bombing of Idlib. Ismail Indani, Head of Idlib City Council, said that it was the first of successive steps to decorate the city of Idlib with the return of life and in light of the cessation of hostilities.
The Head of the City Council added that the upcoming projects will work on the rehabilitation of all gardens, squares and service facilities in the city, in addition to projects to rehabilitate the sidewalks. He considered that starting with the clock was due to “its symbolic value to the citizens.”
He explained to Enab Baladi that the projects will include cultivation of plants, repainting walls and basins, and will end with asphalting the public square around the clock down to the establishment of a parking lot.
Work Plan Going Beyond the City
Through the project, “Violet” sought to improve gardens and public spaces, which are considered as a breathing space for parents and children in particular, according to Awad. He stressed that the work will not be limited to the city, but will also go beyond it to include projects in Maarrat al-Nu’man, Jericho and Jisr al-Shughur in the future. Project administration chose to start with the clock because it is a vital point and a cultural monument in the city, according to Abdul Razzaq Awad, director of the Food Security and Livelihoods Program in “Violet.” He believes that restoring the spirit of the city contributes to the promotion of the project’s name: “Rabee Idlib”.
Since its establishment in Idlib in 2011 by a group of young people, the “Violet” organization has been working in the field of relief, emergency and psychological support in the north of Syria. The organization has expanded afterwards to include hundreds of working staff.
Awad told Enab Baladi that about 400 people, namely supervisors and workers, are participating in the project with different specialties: gardening, sanitation, cleaning and restoration of sidewalks and others. He pointed out that the work proceeds according to clear plans from the beginning to its end by next June, and then we will continue with other projects till the end of the year.
The project administration will replace the current clock with a digital one within the next few days. The project manager, Ihsan Habouch, told Enab Baladi that the delay of the new design prevented them from placing it at the inauguration day.
“I took a lot of pictures with the clock and the lights that surrounded it,” says the 11-year-old Omar Haj Othman, expressing his happiness for the rehabilitation of the square which gave him the opportunity to play with the water fountain in the square again.