DAMASCUS, On a small playground in the countryside of Damascus, Syria’s capital, children’s giggles and cheerful shouts reverberated across the devastation around them.

The happiness on their young faces has eclipsed the destruction left by Syria’s seven-year-long war.

Many of these children, living in Douma district of the Eastern Ghouta, were born during the war and knew nothing about life but its ugly face.

Still, they smiled to life when it showed them part of its beautiful side, which is to live in safety after the last rebel fighter left Douma in April.

The colorful clothes they put on were a strong contrast to the grayish destruction around them and they seemed happy even though the swings they were happy to be on were fixed on the ground by sandbags from the wartime.

The surroundings of the small playground created on the occasion of Eid al-Fitr feast for the children were filled with burnt and mangled cars, but it didn’t seem to matter much to them as if those scars of war are not there anymore.

“Push it harder,” the kids shouted as they mounted a big swing on the shape of a boat while others were laughing their hearts out when getting a 360-degree spin in the air on old swings while strapped to the seat so not to fall out.

It’s the real happiness that could only be reflected by children, whose innocence seems to have shielded them in the past and is now pushing them to move forward and embrace life and happiness to the fullest even in a place as devastated and broken as Douma, which was a home for one of the strongest militant groups in Eastern Ghouta.

“This year is a thousand, or million times better than last year I am so happy,” one kid, Muhammad, told Xinhua in Douma on Friday, the first day of Eid al-Fitr feast, which marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan.

His friend, Salem said the life during the rebel presence was hard and expensive.

“This year is a thousand times better as last Eid we had terrorists and there were not a lot of swings and they used to charge as real expensive for playing on the swing as they used to charge us 300 Syrian pounds for one round on the swing, now it’s 25 Syrian pounds only,” he said.

At another playground in Douma, Salma said she is a seven-year-old girl, born when the war in Syria started.

Wearing all new and holding a small pink board, the shy girl said this year she is not afraid and that “this is the first time I celebrate and be happy during the Eid. It’s even the first time I get a gift during the Eid.”

Her father, Muwafaq al-Matouki, was standing next to her and he looked older than his age of 35 as if he was recuperating from a long illness, which for sure is the sickness of war and calamities.

He said this year is their first to celebrate and live the festive mood of Eid al-Fitr.

“This is the first Eid in many years for us to enjoy, as we haven’t enjoyed it before, or we didn’t have Eid in the past seven years as we were deprived of everything from the feast, from food, clothes or any picnics. So over the past seven years, we had lived as if something heavy was lingering on our chests and they were very difficult during the seven years,” he said.

Standing at the corner of the playground, Jamal al-Shughry was making falafel sandwiches for the kids.

He said the kids love falafel, as it’s the first time for many of them to taste it and many of them are celebrating the feast for the first time.

“Last year in Eid time, I didn’t see all these faces and the prices were so high and all of these kids were deprived even the falafel we used to make it with soya, not hummus and the bead was made from barley, not wheat,” he said.

As a falafel maker even ahead of the war, he said he missed the real taste of falafel and is now telling the kids that this is the real falafel.

“Now it’s different. I was just telling people that this year we are seeing the difference between the government and the rebels. I tell kids that this is the real falafel you have for long been hearing about,” he said.

This was the celebration in Douma, which has been largely affected by war, which also affected other parts of Damascus in different degrees, even including the ones who remained under the government control.

But the situation is now different after the Syrian army recently declared the entire capital and its countryside safe for the first time in seven years after the rebels were either defeated or evacuated from the capital toward rebel-held areas in northern Syria.

Source: Nam News Network

syrianewsgazette.comGeneral
DAMASCUS, On a small playground in the countryside of Damascus, Syria's capital, children's giggles and cheerful shouts reverberated across the devastation around them. The happiness on their young faces has eclipsed the destruction left by Syria's seven-year-long war. Many of these children, living in Douma district of the Eastern...