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Crisis and conflict overshadow Eid in the Middle East

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Crisis and conflict overshadow Eid in the Middle East


In Mecca, Saudi Arabia’s King Salman, like Muslims around the world, has marked the end of the fasting month of Ramadan and the start of the Eid al-Fitr festival.

It is supposed to be one of the most joyous occasions in the Muslim calendar but in Yemen, hit by fighting and airstrikes by a Saudi-led Arab coalition, joy is in short supply.

“Most people will not feel the joy of Eid because they are displaced from their homes and some children are homeless,” said Mabrouk al-Matari, a resident of the capital, Sanaa.

“People are in a very difficult situation. Times are tough. They don’t have an income. They are having to look for their daily bread.”

Only a handful of residents could be seen celebrating Eid in Syria’s divided city of Aleppo.

It is a main battleground in the country’s civil war and, for some, the annual religious holiday is a time to remember the loved ones they have lost in the conflict by visiting their graves.

In Gaza, they are marking Eid among the rubble of last year’s war between Israel and Hamas.

The impoverished Palestinian enclave has little to celebrate but at this traditional time of fun and parties, local people are doing what they can to ensure that Eid remains a time of celebration for the young.

One association of residents living in the middle of the debris organised children’s entertainment to help take youngsters’ minds off the harsh conditions in which they live.

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