Syrian refugees uphold Ramadan traditions despite hardship

Syrian refugees uphold Ramadan traditions despite hardship
4 years ago

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AZAZ, SYRIA – The Islamic holy month of Ramadan is regarded as a testing time for Muslims, but for Syria's Muslim refugees, the struggle can be far more pertinent.

The dusty al-Noor refugee camp in the town of Azaz is now home to hundreds of refugees caught up in Syria's bloody conflict.

The northern town was previously the scene of fierce fighting when Syrian Kurdish forces advanced from the west.  

Syria's nearly six-year war has created a patchwork of areas of control across the country, and Azaz is a major stronghold of the Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA).

Nevertheless, Azaz's local market provides fresh food and produce for its locals to break their fast with, but whether they have the money to do so is a different matter.

The al-Noor camp is suffering from a major water shortage and refugees say they have no electricity to keep them cool in the blistering heat of the daytime fasting hours, and little food to break the fast at sunset.

Charities and aid agencies play their part in ensuring people are provided with basic meals, setting up open air dining areas outside of the tents.

Despite the lack of amenities, fasting refugees are able to sit with their friends and families to enjoy a simple iftar, before a long day of abstinence begins.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based war monitor, said in March at least 465,000 people had been killed and missing in Syria's civil war.

The war which began six years ago has since dragged in global and regional powers, allowed Islamic State to grab huge tracts of territory and caused the biggest refugee crisis since the second world war.