Ramadan in Syria is beginning this Saturday, Sana news agency writes, quoting the text of a telegram sent by Damascus Grand Qadi, Ahmed Armouche, to Syrian president Bashar al Assad. In a large majority of Muslim and Arab countries Ramadan has actually begun today, but in Syria, as in Iraq and Iran, will begin tomorrow. The beginning of the Muslim sacred month has always been calculated on the basis of the lunar calendar and it can change depending on the region.
“In Damascus there is not the atmosphere of a feast, we hold to the news coming from relatives and friends, or internet, or TV, or by word of mouth”, a MISNA source, contacted in the Syrian capital says, speaking under condition of anonymity.
State media report that the Midan district, the rebels’ stronghold, has been retaken by government forces; the armed opposition confirms this but adds that this is just a strategic retreat. On the State-owned Sana news agency website slightly nationalistic reports come along with pictures of havoc and lifeless “terrorists’ ” bodies.
In the meanwhile, clashes seem to have reached Aleppo. “The city centre is calm – a missionary source in the second-largest Syrian city tells MISNA – but in the surrounding areas gunshots and explosions are heard. People tries to live normally, this is hard also because of the news coming from Damascus and other areas, and the rumble of the clashes getting closer and closer”.
On the international plan, after Russia and China have vetoed yesterday a resolution filed by the anti-Assad countries bloc, the security Council unanimously voted today a 30-days extension of the international monitoring mission mandate. The international community agreed at least on this point, but this is a cold comfort for the thousands civilians having fled their homes because of violence: “The biggest part sought a refuge with friends and relatives – Cecilia Goin, spokesperson for the International Committee of the Red Cross in Damascus tells MISNA – and in the last few days about 20.000 have crossed the Lebanese border . Not always one has a relative or friend he can ask for a shelter. We are giving them aid through the Syrian Arab Red Crescent and we are taking initiatives also in Lebanon”.