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Syrian refugees prepare to celebrate another Eid in Dohuk camp

It's another Eid a long way from home for Esfandiyar Ahmad and her family.

They are Syrian refugees living in Domiz camp in Dohuk, Iraq.

The family left Afrin and have been here for nine years.

But they still keep their Syrian customs alive to mark the end of the fasting month of Ramadan.

"Eid comes and brings love every year, and people go to markets as we did also. We made ma'amoul cookies, barazek, and qurabiya as you can see, and we bought clothes for the Eid. Children are pleased with these things. Hopefully, it will be nice and blessings on us every year," says Esfandiyar.

Traditional Syrian cookies are one way to feel closer to home.

But as Esfandiyar and her mother and sister prepare the dough, her thoughts are on how this holiday used to be, before they left their homeland.

"Eid in Syria was nicer than here, because in Syria, we used to have family and relatives. We used to go to my grandparents' house and other houses to get the Eidiya (money gifts) from them and buy clothes," she recalls.

"Of course, celebrating Eid with relatives is different than here. Here, we have no one, except my father and mother. I mean the family is small here."

Domiz camp is home to 28,000 Syrians and was established in April 2012.

Eid al Fitr is the festival which marks the end of the Islamic holy fasting month of Ramadan.

Muslims traditionally shop for new clothes and food to mark the holiday.

And it's no different for refugees, with a bustling market street inside the camp busy with shoppers.

Shevan, originally from Qamishli, is buying clothes for his children.

"I have two boys and a daughter. I came directly from work to buy clothes for them," he says.

"How is the situation? We must say praise be to God, whether it is good or bad."

The Eid celebrations last for three days and are a time for family gatherings and exchanging gifts.

For the second year, Eid comes amid the coronavirus outbreak, and a lack of aid for Syrian refugees.

But shop owner Nubar Sagvan says he still has plenty of customers.

"Actually, Eid (business) is good this year, but there were more people buying clothes for their kids at the last Eid. But in general, business is good and there are plenty of people with kids coming to the market," he says.

According to data shared by the United Nations Refugee Agency, there are more than 242,000 registered Syrian refugees - mostly Kurds - in Iraq's Northern Kurdish region (as at July 2020).

The Eid holiday begins on the first day of the month of Shawal, the tenth month of the lunar Islamic calendar.

There are, however, regional differences in the exact timing of Eid due to different interpretations of the calendar and variations in religious opinion. AP

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