Syrian refugees set to spend yet another Ramadan away from home

Syrian refugees set to spend yet another Ramadan away from home

Victims of Syrian civil war preparing for their fasting month in harsh conditions due to rising food prices, unemployment

By Ahmet Karaahmet and Mehmet Burak Karacaoglu

IDLIB, Syria (AA) – Syrian refugees displaced by the Assad regime's attacks and forced to take shelter in camps in the northwestern Idlib province are set to observe the Muslim holy month of Ramadan away from their homes yet for another time.

People, who are in a state of partial trust with the cease-fire agreement signed between Turkiye and Russia in March 2020, are entering Ramadan, the fasting month based on the Islamic lunar calendar, with financial difficulties as a result of the Syrian civil war.

Victims of the civil war, now in its 11th year, are preparing for the fasting month under difficult conditions due to rising food prices and unemployment, yearning for the homes they left behind due to the Assad regime's relentless attacks.

Civilians who have taken refuge in Idlib camps are awaiting assistance so that they can fast in relative comfort throughout the month of Ramadan.

Cemile al Ala, who was displaced by the regime's intense airstrikes three years ago and took refuge in the Azraq camp north of Idlib, told Anadolu Agency that there are no job opportunities and that families in the region are suffering from a lack of resources.

Um Ala, a 64-year-old mother of six, lamented: "I owned a lot of property in the village. I had money and was free to eat whatever I wanted. Now we have nothing."

Mentioning that they had to leave their village due to constant attacks by the regime forces, she said: "Ramadan here is not like Ramadan in the village. It's hard to make a living here."

"Families don't have enough money to buy bread. We don't have any money to spend," she stated emphatically.

Fatima Omar, another of the displaced civilians, stated: "In our village, Ramadan was pleasant. My siblings were quite close to me. We were all living in the same house."

She emphasized how "tough" it is to get along in the camp, saying: "The men and women in the camp are unable to find work.

"It has started to get hot before summer comes... (and) we can't sit in a tent," she expressed her displeasure, asking international donors to provide them with briquette housing support.

Referring to the difficult living conditions, she said: "Ramadan has arrived. Everything is very expensive. People can hardly buy one loaf of bread.”

- Lack of basic needs

Khalid Hamud, another refugee camp resident, also said that they lack basic services and living supplies in the camp.

He described the life in the tent as challenging, adding, "In the village, we had a house, water, and electricity."

Everyone in the family was able to make ends meet thanks to the money they earned from their fields, he explained, adding that "we're looking at someone else's hand at the camp.

"Different people bring the water, and different people bring the bread, and so on," he said.

Ahmed al-Ahmed, who stressed that Ramadan was more beautiful in the village, also said that his tents were flooded in the winter and that the weather is extremely hot in the summer.

He stated: "We had property, but we had to emigrate. Life is very difficult here.

"The bazaar is far away, (and) we don't have the means to travel there. We can't be sheltered from the rain or the heat in the tent," he complained.

Syria has been locked in a vicious civil war since early 2011 when the regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests.

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, 6.7 million people have been internally displaced, while at least 14 million civilians in Syria are in need of humanitarian assistance.

A UN statement in September 2021 said the number of confirmed deaths in the Syrian civil war is around 350,000, while the actual figure is estimated to be much higher.

The Assad regime tortured at least 14,449 people to death. According to opposition sources, the regime forces are still detaining about 400,000 people.

* Writing by Merve Berker​​​​​​​

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