Syrian, Turkish citizens spend Eid al-Fitr together on border villages
Syria-Turkey, Politics, 1/11/2000
The Al-Hayat daily repoted that the continued development in the Syrian-Turkish relations which had started with the signing of the Adanah security agreement in October 1998, has surpassed the phase of exchanging official statements and calls to open a new page in the relations between the two sides, to hugging and kissing and even to al-Dabkeh traditional dances.
This actually happened in the Jeilan Beinar village of the Turkish city of Orfa, near the Syrian borders on the first day of Eid al-Fitr which started in the two countries on Saturday.
Following consultations between the governor of Orfa and the Syrian governor of al-Hassaka, it was agreed to open land borders between the two countries during the three days of the Eid to give a chance for the families and friends from the Turkish village of Jeilan Beinar and the Syrian village of Ein al-Arab which are separated by the borders to exchange visits and thereby prevented the two sides, mostly Arabs and Kurds, from meeting each other.
The Syrian and Turkish sides had prepared for this initiative in the past al-Adha Eid when Turkey for the first time permitted the people of Ein al-Arab to meet with their relatives on the Turkish side of the border at the customs hall for several hours. During the Eid, 207 families from Ein al-Arab were permitted to enter Jeilan Beinar and stay with their relatives for three days, the three days of al-Fitr Eid, under the condition that the Syrian village of Ein al-Arab would host those from the Turkish side in the next Eid al-Adha.
Preparations for this historical meeting among cousins who were split by the borders for long time, were marked by decorating the old very famous train station which used to link Baghdad and Berlin.
One side of the station is situated on the Turkish side and the other is on the Syrian side. The Turks raised banners in Arabic and Turkish saying "Welcome in Turkey" and a statement by Ataturk: "peace in the homeland and with neighbors."
The initiative permitted cousins of the same family who have not visited each other in tens of years to meet and brought together marriages among cousins. The two also exchanged presents and gifts,s mainly tea and coffee from the Syrian side and butter, oil and garments from the Turkish side.
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