- Title: Orthodox Christians in Aleppo celebrate Saint Barbara's day
- Date: 2nd December 2016
- Summary: VARIOUS OF A WOMAN CELEBRATING HER BIRTHDAY BIRTHDAY GIRL DANCING CELEBRATION
- Embargoed: 17th December 2016 04:18
- Keywords: Syria Aleppo Christians celebration
- Location: ALEPPO, SYRIA
- City: ALEPPO, SYRIA
- Country: Syria
- Reuters ID: LVA0055B6XB2F
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: As the eastern part of Aleppo faces an uncertain future with government forces closing in on areas controlled for years by rebel factions, a group of Christian women based in the western, government-controlled part of the divided city, attempt to forget their own woes.
The situation in the western part of the city is generally more stable than the besieged eastern areas, allowing the women to mark St. Barbara day at a restaurant in where they sang and danced.
Dalal Arouseh, a participant at the event, said the local church had organised the occasion.
"People have got tired from the war and weapons. Our goal is to make people a little happy and forget our problems. That is why we decided to do this activity in our Syriac Orthodox church," she said.
Another woman, Christine, said living some moments of joy again were crucial to help people cope with such a destructive civil war.
"Fear is present at every moment in Aleppo. We are afraid wherever we go, but this is an annual occasion and this is a holiday month so we like to change our mood, forget the war and fear, breathe and we also bring our little children so they can forget the difficult conditions," she said.
About 30,000 people are receiving aid after fleeing the besieged eastern zone of Aleppo in the past few days, taking the total number of displaced people in the Syrian city to more than 400,000, U.N. special envoy Staffan de Mistura said on Thursday (December 1).
By Wednesday (November 30), about 18,000 people had been registered entering government controlled areas and about 8,500 crossing into Sheikh Maqsoud, the Kurdish-controlled zone of Aleppo, de Mistura's humanitarian adviser Jan Egeland told reporters. He said those figures were likely to have risen on Thursday.
A ground and air campaign by Syrian government forces and their Russian and Lebanese allies that began in September has cut off rebels in their most important urban stronghold, and left around 250,000 civilians with rapidly dwindling food and medical facilities. On Sunday and Monday the city's rebels suffered their biggest reverse in four years, losing around a third of the area they had controlled.
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