• Sarmada

  • Thursday, March 28, 2024 at 6:12:52 PM
    Last Update : Thursday, April 4, 2024 at 6:18 AM

Syrian Families Separated by Years of War Reunite “Virtually” to Break Ramadan Fast

(AWP) - For the fourth successive year, displaced Syrian Faisal Haj Ali is spending the Muslim holy month of Ramadan in a refugee camp on the outskirts of the city of Sarmada in Idlib Governorate.

Separated from his family and loved ones by the civil war, they can only “virtually” gather to break the Ramadan fast through online calls.

Since the outbreak of the civil war in 2011, millions of Syrians have been forced into displacement, with many resorting to leaving the country altogether.

Souad, Faisal’s wife, who lives with him in the camp, said, “We were doing fine before the displacement. We were comfortable among our relatives and neighbours. Ramadan was the most joyous time; we would enjoy gatherings of family and relatives, we’d give our neighbours food from what we cooked, and they would send us their food too.”

She recounted, “We exchanged visits for iftar with relatives. Ramadan was all about happiness and joy. Now, after displacement, none of this remains. Everything has changed. If we invite a relative, it becomes a burden for them to come, and they may not be able to come because of the long distances.”

According to her husband, the only way to feel closer to his family members and his son, who now lives in Turkey, is through video calls.

Haj Ali said, “My family is large, with seven or eight people. Each of them went to a different place – whether inside Syria or abroad. During the month of Ramadan, we used to meet for iftar (breaking the fast), suhoor (late Ramadan dinner), and in the evening. But now we can no longer meet.”

He added, “[Virtual] communication is the only way to meet. But this is out of our hands. We have been in this situation for four years and each year is worse than the one before. It is the same situation with my son, and every day I think of my mother and my brothers, so I call them to check on them and see how their Ramadan iftar was. We talk to each other over the phone.”