Editor K / July 30, 2014

Eid In Syria: Then And Now

Before Eid Al Fitr, the Islamic holiday that comes after Ramadan, people start shopping for new clothing and preparing Eid cookies. The first day of the holiday is marked by visiting the graves of loved ones, then hitting the road to visit families and friends, and letting children enjoy the swings that fill the streets. This year, Syrian Eid is a bit different...

“My favourite part of Eid was seeing my nieces. My sister used to come visit us the first thing in Eid morning, and her daughters would come and wake me up laughing. Now I’m spending my Eid in rural Idlib where I can see my old house in Aleppo from afar, as I’m wanted by the Syrian security for my civil activities. But visiting Sarakeb today, a place where revolutionary spirit is still alive, playing with these girls and picking some jasmine for them as they were  jumping out excitement, has really made my Eid!”

Abd Hakawati – Idlib, Northwestern Syria

Sarakeb - Eid 2014

Sarakeb – Eid 2014


“We tried our best to make children smile with our limited resources. Their smiles are our victory. Children can always find joy in simple things, even under the siege. We helped them to make small cards in the shape of butterflies saying: Yarmouk, bless your Eid and swings.” 

Oussama Jafra – Yarmouk Refugee Camp


Yarmouk – 2014, Jafra Team


“Yesterday we worked hard to make some Eid swings for our kids, today an air raid came and swept it all. Thank God it was early in the morning so only a few people were injured. Yet children went out playing despite everything.”

Abd Al Doumani – Douma, Southern Syria.

Douma-1st day Eid 2014, Abd Al Doumani

Douma-1st day Eid 2014, Abd Al Doumani


“We used to visit our relatives’ graves on the first morning of Eid. My uncle Mahmoud used to take us with him. Yesterday he died in an air raid in Raqqa. My brother Mhd Nour has been kidnapped by ISIS, I can’t go to see my mother there as ISIS considers me a heretic, nor can I go with her to visit her brother’s grave.”

Amer Matar – Raqqa, North Central Syria

Mhd Nour Matar in Raqqa - 2013, Hamid Al Khatib

Mhd Nour Matar in Raqqa – 2013, Hamid Al Khatib


“Streets are empty, while cemeteries are full, that’s our Eid! Last year, despite all the shelling and bombing, pickups were still able to go around Ghouta and distribute juices for children, and we used basements as safe areas for kids’ playgrounds. Now after the siege, it’s too expensive for anyone to do anything, all that children can play with are empty plastic buckets, yet they seem to be quite excited with just that. This is why we can’t help but say that we draw our strength from our children.

Mohammed ِAl Abdallah- Merj, Eastern Ghouta

Children in Merj Sector - 2014, Mohammad Al Abdallah

Children in Merj Sector, Eastern Ghouta – 2014, Mohammad Al Abdallah


“I remember when I was a little boy, I used to go with other kids to collect candies, as it’s the tradition of the Arabs and Kurds of Qamishli. My mother used to make a special sort of Eid cookies “Klige” that is known in our area, it smelled like heaven. This Eid, the whole Hasakeh governorate is suffering, at first from the Syrian regime, and now by ISIS who was bombarding it  yesterday, because it’s full of Kurds and other minorities. In each family you’ll find someone dead or detained or displaced. But my mother, and all mothers made Klige, and bought candies for kids. I couldn’t visit my mother, because I’m wanted by the regime, but having this photo from Amuda city sent by our relatives made me feel at home. I believe that Eid has always and will always be about kids, their candies and cookies. Just seeing them being made takes you back in time, you can almost smell them, with all the memories of your childhood, which makes you laugh again.” 

Massoud Akko – Qamishli, Hasakeh Governorate, Northeastern Syria

Amuda, Haskeh Governorate - Eid 2014

Amuda, Hasakeh Governorate – Eid 2014


“After the regime entered Old Homs where I used to live, I became entrapped under the siege in Waer neighborhood, locked away from my parents who live in another area in the same city, and I miss them, I miss my mother’s face and Eid cookies. People are nice here, but with my parents maybe I could have found some safety in the face of the barrel bombs that fell yesterday.”

Rana – Waer area, Homs, Western Syria

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Homs, Eid 2014 – by Yazan Al Homsi

“Streets are empty, but not because of bombing; why would anyone go out when you might be arrested simply for wearing trousers they don’t like? How would we let our children out, they may see a crucifixion or stoning in the street. This is not our Eid anymore.”

Sami – Raqqa, North Central Syria