Syrian refugees flee from war and poverty are marking their 10th Eid in Turkey far from their homes. Since the civil war in their country started in March 2011, nine million Syrians have been displaced and over 2 million have fled north to Turkey.
Thousands of refugees began marching towards Edirne on Sept. 16, aiming to cross further into Europe. However, they were stopped by Turkish officers because European countries are not willing to take the refugees.
Some refugees remain in Edirne, which borders Bulgaria and Greece, and continue to wait for the border gates to open as many of them celebrate Eid ul Adha, the Muslim feast of sacrifice, outside of Syria for the fifth time.
The Eid ul Adha prayer in Edirne was held at Sarayici square on Thursday. The prayer was led by Ilyas Ahmet, a former divinity faculty member in Syria, who is currently living in Kahranmaras, Turkey. In the sermon (khutbah) following the prayer, he delivered a peace message for Syrians and the rest of humanity facing difficulties and called on the Muslim world to show solidarity.
Some refugees were seen bursting into tears during the prayer.
Refugees greeted each other after the prayer while some non profit organisations delivered gifts to children.
Some of the refugees have returned to the camps in Turkey’s southern provinces of Adana, Sanliurfa and Gaziantep as they gave up waiting after news arrived from the UN emergency summit in Brussels where UN leaders discussed finding a solution to the refugee crisis on Wednesday.
Asylum seekers and refugees living in camps in Kahramanmaras also greeted each other after the prayers.
One of the Syrian refugees, Abdurrahman Hasanaga, said, “It would be different to spend Eid in Syria. My wish for Eid is Assad to leave and a new order come to the country. I wish to have a system as in Turkey, to have a comfortable life. It’s not possible to talk with police officers and soldiers. You get be beaten if stand up for your rights. We can talk with police in Turkey and claim our rights. We thank Turkish government and people,” adding that he is thinking about his country even he has lived in Turkey for three and a half years.
Syrian teacher Osman Ahmet Bekkura also expressed his feelings over spending Eid as a refugee. He said that this Eid lacks a happy atmosphere not only in Turkish refugee camps but also in all Muslim countries and wishes to celebrate the next Eid in his country.