Damascus is preparing for the New Year’s festivities amid celebration from regime official media as well as its Russian ally, as part of the renewal of its old propaganda promoting the securing of normal life in the age of the regime and its security agencies, as Syrian regions recover from the “cancer of terrorism.”
Regime loyalist media is flooded with images of the preparations for New Year’s day in the capital Damascus and the works underway to decorate its streets and alleys. The Russian Sputnik news agency has published images said to be of decoration and lights on the al-Abbassiyyin in Damascus, which will see a celebration this year at Christmas, after previously being part of the front lines with rebel groups in the Joubar district, which was totally destroyed by regime weapons and those of its ally Russia a few years ago.
Many Syrians were scornful of the images of decorations and lights and talk of a safe life in the rubble of Syrian cities that had been destroyed, such as the Damascus district of Joubar, which is just meters from the al-Abassiyyin square, as well as the cities of eastern Ghouta and the Homs countryside and the districts of eastern Aleppo as well as in Idleb. Syrians are meanwhile living under crushing poverty in areas under regime control, due to the devastating economic crisis the regime itself is unable to address following the historic collapse of the Syrian pound against foreign currencies.
There is a start contrast between the images of Damascus, which is celebrating the New Year and Idleb, where tents are drowning in rain and mud and filth in a new humanitarian disaster since the start of the winter. With the onset of the rains, dozens of informal tents are drowning in the Idleb countryside amid pleas for assistance from their residents. But the people are unable to overcome this ordeal, with living conditions collapsing alongside the security conditions imposed by the regime and Russia, with the air escalation against the areas south of Idleb.
The Humanitarian Response Coordinators said a few days ago that more than 29 camps throughout the Idleb countryside had been damaged, displacing and affecting more than 3,126 families. They also said that 18 tents were damaged on Saturday amid a total lack of shelter for families, as a result of the rain. Tragically, the disaster is ongoing and is renewed with each downpour.
Displaced with the new year
The displaced pay no heed, and may not even be very aware of any occasion or event bearing some ritual or another. Abou Mohamed, who was displaced from the Jabel al-Akrad area and now lives in a camp in the western Idleb countryside, told Brocar Press that: “The days have become the same for us. We can no longer distinguish between the holidays and rituals and other occasions, because most people here are too busy trying to secure a living.”
He added: “The real celebration will be when we overcome this tragedy and go back to our homes and our land and we leave the life of displacement and flight.”
Mohamed al-Sheikh, displaced from Kafr Nabouda in the northern Hama countryside told Brocar Press that, “residents of the camps may have forgotten that New Year’s Day is coming up, and if they do know then it is just a coincidence. Even interest and eagerness for religious events has diminished.”
Sheikh, who resides in the northern Idleb camps, said that after displacement people’s priorities turn to securing a living and nothing more.
On social media, Syrians have said that it is immoral to celebrate the tragedy of other Syrians, without any sympathy or evaluation of the plight of those whose homes have been destroyed or are living in camps and are drowning in the rains and bombardment of the Idleb countryside.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.