HATAY, Turkey

Refugees in Turkey returning to Syria because of next week’s Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, are happy to spend it with their families and relatives but worry about the ongoing war and violence. 

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, refugees who could not go to Syria for Eid al-Fitr, a three-day Muslim festival after the fasting month of Ramadan and last year’s Eid al-Adha, are on their way to the border gates with the excitement of meeting loved ones for the holiday.

The holiday celebrates Prophet Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son at God’s command.

Syrians in Turkey continue to pass through the border gates of Cilvegozu in Hatay’s Reyhanli district and Oncupinar in Kilis province.

Those who can enter Syria until July 18, are allowed to return to Turkey by Dec. 31.  

Separated for six years

Mohammed Ammadi, 18, from Idlib told Anadolu Agency that he had to be separated from his parents because of the war.

He said he came to Turkey six years ago with a relative who was injured due to an Assad regime’s airstrike and went to Istanbul with his relative but has never been able to go back to his country.

“I am very happy to celebrate [the eid] with my parents, whom I have not seen for six years, who stayed in Idlib. I have been waiting for two years to return to Idlib,” he said. “Thank Allah I will finally see them.”   

Family reunion after three years

Necim Suman, 26, said that he will be reunited with his family in Idlib after three years.

“Thank Allah I was treated. I could not reunite with my family for two years due to the pandemic. I am very happy to meet them this holiday. I thank those who contributed to the opening of the door.” he said, adding that he came to Turkey because of his illness.

Ahmet Osman, 21, said he lost relatives in air attacks seven years ago in Syria and was separated from his mother for four years.

“I hope this war ends and there will be peace in our country,” he said.

Idlib falls within a de-escalation zone forged under an agreement between Turkey and Russia in March 2020.

The Syrian regime, however, has consistently violated the terms of the cease-fire, launching frequent attacks inside the de-escalation zone.

Syria has been mired in a vicious civil war since early 2011 when the Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests with unexpected ferocity.

Over the past decade, around half a million people have been killed and more than 12 million had to flee their homes.

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