As the regime offensive in northern Syria shows no sign of slowing down, it will be a sombre Eid for hundreds of thousands.
On either Tuesday or Wednesday, the world’s 1.8 billion will celebrate the festival of Eid al Fitr, which marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan.
But for many in northern Syria, the day will bring little joy, as the religious holiday will be spent dodging regime bombs or living destitute in makeshift camps for the internally displaced.
In late April, forces loyal to Syrian regime leader Bashar al Assad stepped up a campaign to reclaim the rebel-held province of Idlib, as well as surrounding areas.
The regime has relied heavily on the aerial bombardment of civilian-dense areas in its efforts to wrest control of territory from rebel fighters, killing hundreds of civilians in the process.
Upwards of 200,000 civilians, including many who had previously fled conflict in other areas of Syria, have fled to rebel held areas further north, leaving the region on the brink of a fresh humanitarian crisis.
They include 13-year-old Ahmad al Ali, originally from the village of Kafr Nabouda in Idlib, who fled his home with his parents and his two younger brothers after intense regime attacks nearby.
From his new home, a small tent in Maraat al Nouman, Ali says his days are spent simply praying for the bombs to stop. He does not expect that to change, even during Eid.
“We spent our last Eid at home with our family and neighbours who are in different places now,” he tells TRT World.
“Some died or were wounded when air strikes hit our district four weeks ago,” he adds. “I don’t know where they are now or whether they’re safe or not.”
The areas now under attack in Idlib and its surrounds were part of a de-escalation zone agreed by Russia and Turkey in 2017. Many living in the area had arrived there from other areas from Syria, believing it was safe from regime attack.
Joint strikes by Russia and forces loyal to Assad, however, have shattered that perception, leaving both aid groups and civilians poorly prepared to deal with the resulting displacement crisis.
Ali shares his tent with two of his uncles and their families and food and clean water are scarce on the best of days.
“I’m not sure how I’m supposed to think about the Eid celebration,” he says.
“My only hope is that we’re not forced to move again,” he adds, referring to the threat of further displacement due to encroaching air raids by Assad warplanes.
Even small pleasures, like playing with friends outside, are denied to Ali, whose mother has prevented him from going out for too long, fearing that he might get caught up in a bombing.
“I couldn’t even take the books I had under my bed when we fled,” he says.
Usually a lucrative time of the year for businesses, local traders are also taking a hit amid the regime offensive.
Karam Baraket set up a clothing store in rural Idlib’s Saraqib village when he was forced to leave his native Homs province.
The 29-year-old, who is married with two children, says the last two weeks usually involve overseeing imports of clothes from local manufacturers and nearby Turkey, but the regime offensive had all but ruined this year’s business.
“My sales have declined to the extent that few customers stop to window shop, let alone look inside,” he tells TRT World. “We used to stay up so that we could keep our shop open 24/7 during the last few days of Ramadan but now we’re selling hardly anything.”
With profits down, the businessman has been forced into new lines of business.
“There is one thing that demand has increased for recently,” he says. “The white cloth used to bury the dead.”
'All we have now are memories'
No recent figures are available, but the Syrian Civil War is believed to have claimed at least 500,000 lives.
According to the UN Refugee Agency, more than five million Syrians have also fled the country and more than 6.6 million are internally displaced.
Syrian civilians from areas captured by the regime have been allowed to seek refuge in areas still held by the rebels as part of ceasefire agreements.
While these people are safe from regime attack for the time being, they move to communities where they have few or no family or friends.
Asmaa Bayazed, aged 15, was displaced when the regime captured Daraa in the summer of 2018, and now lives with her four brothers and parents in a two-bedroom house in the village of Atareb in Aleppo province.
The teenager says that with her family and friends scattered across the country and abroad, the most important part of Eid has disappeared.
“I lost my friends in the displacement, everyone has gone somewhere different, I only have two friends here,” she tells TRT World.
Recalling previous Eids, where she would visit family members and friends, she says: “I loved that part of Eid. It brings me so much happiness thinking about it.
“When I was back home, wearing new clothes, playing outside with my friends and neighbours.
“All we have now are memories and dreams.”