Daraya: Eid’s Joy Absent as Residents Pay Respect to City’s Martyrs

Rebel-held city commemorates religious holiday by honoring its fallen and missing, with general amnesty issued for city's prisoners to mark the occasion

Daraya’s Read and Develop school organized activities over the Eid holiday in an attempt to remove the city's children from the atmosphere of war. The school’s executive director, Abu Khalil, spoke of efforts to provide as much safety as possible to the school’s playground, designed to give children an atmosphere they have been denied for a long time. The school’s programs included competitions and the distribution of prizes and candy – which has all but vanished inside the city.


“There are no sweets here”, according to Haj Abu Wassim, owner of the only sweets shop in the city. Abu Wassim explained he is unable to make Eid sweets due to the high cost of ingredients and a lack of materials. "The price of a kilo of some sweets reached 2,000 Syrian pounds, and the people of the city cannot afford this price", he said.


Martyrs Cemetery is the first destination for most of the city's fighters and residents over the holdiay. Abu Adnan, a fighter in the Free Syrian Army, began the morning of Eid by visiting the grave of his brother. "I forgot Eid since the death of my brother. Joy will not return until I am reunited with my displaced family and my second brother is released from prison. We haven't heard any news from him in two years".


Um Said is no different from the rest of the mothers of Daraya’s martyrs, spending the first day of Eid commemorating her son’s life. "A martyr since he was a child", she describes him, as she distributed homemade sweets amongst the souls of the cemetery’s other martyrs.


The Public Security Bureau in Daraya issued a general amnesty for all prisoners in the city, with the exception of war criminals.


According to Abu Zafer, a city judge, the amnesty was issued to mark the end of Ramadan and the arrival of Eid. “The goal is to give an opportunity for the guilty to repent to God, as "our only goal is to protect the properties, the rights of people and to reduce crimes", Abu Zafer said.


The judge explained that most of the detainees are good people, but have committed mistakes, and perhaps the amnesty would make them more determined to avoid making the same mistakes again. “We do not deprive anyone from the joy of Eid", said Abu Zafer.


Most of Daraya is under the control of the Free Syrian Army, managed by a local council, which tries to secure the basic needs of around 10,000 people besieged within the city.

Translated and edited by The Syrian Observer

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