The upcoming Muslim festival of sacrifice, Eid al-Adha, will be a gloomy occasion for 1.5 million displaced Syrians living in Turkey.
Yearning to celebrate the event that means reunion with relatives living in other cities, Syrians will have to spend another eid in their host country Turkey as no end is in sight for the four-year-long conflict in Syria.
In Kilis, the southern Turkish province bordering Syria, about 14,000 Syrians residing in a "container city" made of houses converted from shipping containers, prepare to welcome the festival amid feelings of homesickness.
Despite losing their loved ones and houses in the civil war that continues to plague Syria, they are determined not to spoil the joyous occasion of eid. They shop for new clothes for their children to be worn during eid and prepare dishes that will be served to guests in their humble dwellings.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency (AA), Muhammad Nasuh reminisces about the previous eid holidays he observed in Syria. "We used to buy new clothes, prepare desserts and visit our relatives. This is what we miss the most," he said. Nasuh has been living in the container city for the past three years and surviving on humanitarian aid. With what little money they have, they will try to observe eid in the camp the best they can. Nasuh lives in the camp with his two children while his two other children study engineering at a Turkish university and will visit him on eid. "In spite of all the bad things we went through because of the war, it is good to be in Turkey. I thank the Turkish government for everything they provided for us. What we want most is to return home. By God's will, this war will come to an end and we will live in Syria safely [again]," he said.
Haldiye Hasanca, a Syrian Turkmen who has been living in the Kilis camp for three years, echoed Nasuh's yearning for a return home. "This is a dream we cling to. I used to live in Latakia and long to return there one day with my husband and children," she said.
Though those living in camps for the displaced have no prospect of returning to Syria any time soon, those not living in camps and those with surviving relatives in Syria brave the war for a brief return to observe eid at home.
A large number of Syrians lined up at Turkey's Öncüpınar border crossing with Syria located in Kilis yesterday. Turkish authorities allow both those with Syrian passports and those without passports into Syria after registering them at the border crossing, and about 2,000 people have traveled to Syria for the holiday.