By Esref Musa and Burak Karacaoglu
IDLIB, Syria (AA) – Civilians in Syria’s northwestern Idlib province, where refugees have sought shelter during the country’s protracted conflict, welcomed the arrival of the Eid al-Adha holiday on Tuesday despite their difficult circumstances.
Held by anti-regime opposition factions, Idlib is currently home to some four million Syrians who fled their homes earlier amid attacks by the Assad regime.
Mohammed Kaddor, chairman of Idlib’s Ahli refugee camp, told Anadolu Agency that only a limited number of camp residents were able to take part in Eid festivities.
“Some have enough money to buy new goods, but most rely on second-hand shops,” he said. “Meanwhile, those without family or money don't leave the camp.”
“Orphans and the families of martyrs can’t buy the kinds of food associated with Eid, nor can they buy new clothes,” he added.
Noting that the Assad regime had recently deployed troops to opposition-held Idlib, Kaddor said that camp residents feared a possible regime attack on the area.
Um Mahmoud, a Turkmen mother who lost her husband earlier to a regime airstrike, said that she — along with her seven children — was depending on charitable organizations for her Eid requirements.
“If it wasn't for these charitable organizations, we wouldn’t have anything to eat now,” she said gratefully.
“I don't have an income or anyone to bring money home,” she added.
Um Mahmoud went on to lament the fact that she could not afford any of the items her children wanted.
“In line with tradition, all my children want new clothes to wear for the Eid,” she said.
Omar Abu Nahla, a resident of Idlib’s Kafr Lusin refugee camp, for his part, said that Idlib had recently seen a fresh influx of refugees from central and southern parts of the country.
“My children want new clothes and shoes, but I can't afford this,” he said.
“They don’t understand our difficult circumstances; they just want to be happy,” he added.
Another camp resident, Samar Sallum, said that he had bought used clothes for his children at a local flea market.
Sallum, too, pointed out that camp populations had recently increased due to a fresh refugee influx from Syria’s Homs and Daraa provinces.
“It’s always nice to celebrate Eid, but we still need help more than ever,” Sallum told Anadolu Agency.
*Ali Murat Alhas contributed to this report from Ankara