Sun 12 Jul 2020

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500 Families for first time do not celebrate Eid al-Fitr in al-Ghab Plain

Displaced children in Jabal Shashabo, al-Ghab Plain (Enab Baladi)

Displaced children in Jabal Shashabo, al-Ghab Plain (Enab Baladi)

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Hama Countryside – Eyad Abd al-Jawad

The festive atmosphere was utterly missing in al-Ghab Plain, Central Syria after the Syrian regime forces re-established control of most of its lands. 

The head of Zayzun’s local council, Ahmad Na`san said that the residents of al-Ghab Plain were not able to perform the most important rituals of Eid al-Fitr—Eid al-Fitr means “festival of breaking the fast” and marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan—such as visiting the graves of their loved-ones, partaking in Eid al-Fitr prayers, and visiting relatives and friends. 

 Na`san added that the fear of the regime forces targeting the gatherings is a reason that prevents those who remain in the al-Ghab Plain from practicing the rituals of Eid.

Weal al-Juma is one of the residents of Qastoun village and was forcibly displaced by the Russian-backed Syrian regime’s military operations. Al-Juma pointed out that Eid celebrations were also muted in the village of Qastoun this year because it had become almost empty of its people, which means the absence of feasting and social gatherings. People fled the violence and scattered in several areas near the Turkish borders after their village became more dangerous under the regime forces fire.

500 families are suffering

Despite the calm prevailing in the al-Ghab region, the absence of essential public services such as medical centers and drinking water, coupled with a lack of services of relief organizations, prevents the residents from returning to their homes. 

Approximately 500 families were concentrated in the villages of Zaqqum, al-Dakmak, al-Hamidiya, Qastoun, and Zayzun, according to Ahmad Na`san, who believes that the people will return to their homes in al-Ghap Plain if it remains calm. 

According to what monitored by Enab Baladi, there are no sweets or clothing sellers in the areas where few numbers of families have to stay.

Mus’ab al-Yassin, an activist from al-Ziyarah district, says that children are deprived of the joyful celebration of Eid in the villages of Qastoun and Zayzun because the Russian reconnaissance planes continue flying over these villages, which are also under almost daily shelling by the forces of the Syrian regime. 

He adds that the region is experiencing total darkness because the residents do not turn on the lights, for fear of bombing, which increases the hardship of the people during the Eid al-Fitr holiday.

He explains that those families who stayed in the al-Ghab Plain cannot afford displacement to the north, while some preferred to stay to cultivate their lands, despite the deteriorating service conditions they suffer.

Most people there cannot buy their children clothes or sweets because of the high prices. Moreover, they cannot secure drinking water after the price per barrel of water reaches 500 Syrian pounds ( SYP-0.2 USD).

No Eid celebrations in displacement

Abdul Moeen al-Ghabi, who is displaced from his village Qabr Fiddah in the Ghab Plain region and lives in northern Idlib,  said that he has a huge lump in his throat when Eid comes because he is far from his village. Also, he cannot “gather with the loved ones”, or visit the graves of his relatives anymore. 

Al-Ghabi says, “We are strangers here, we barely know the neighbors.  All our relatives and friends are in regions far from us, and we will not be able to celebrate with them this Eid.”

Al-Ghabi explains that they have given up buying sweets, bitter coffee, and practicing other Eid rituals, and their current concern is to put a smile on the faces of children deprived of the holiday, as are most of the displaced children.

 

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