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Aiding Children Affected by Terrorism

In-order to provide moral and psychological support workshops are launched for deported children living in temporary accommodation centers in Tartous.

 in-cooperation with UNICEF and the Ministry of  Culture, the Directorate of Culture in Tartous launched workshops aiming at aiding the  children  affected by terrorism of the armed groups in order to provide psychological and emotional support to help them cope with their distress.

Mr.Shaheen Shaheen, the Director of culture in Tartous emphasized the importance of this campaign for children. It included workshops supervised by specialists in the centers of their accommodation.

The ministry of Culture works for this campaign through a set of ideas and visions related to children.

Mr. shaheen indicated that this campaign is directed to boost hope for children .It gives them leeway to express their love of homeland and life through creative ways trying to surmount the stress posed by the terrorists which prevents them from practicing their daily peaceful routines.

Mona Assa'd, the responsible of the activities in the Cultural Center in the governorate indicated the value of establishing such activities which are intended to help the affected children from  other places that witnessed brutal acts of killing and violence practiced by the armed groups. This fact clearly affected their psychological status. She pointed out that the role of the Ministry and the Directorate lies in providing support for them in co-operation with other establishments caring for children and childhood .

Besides ,Assa'd mentioned that these workshops include training children in the domains of music,art,calligraphy,writing short stories and handcrafts .In addition to activities related to interactional theater and narrating stories.

The workshops function according to a specific schedule every Tuesday in all accommodation centers .At the end of each workshop there will be an exhibition to show the work of children to the public.

Children expressed their excitement about these workshops asking for holding such activities on a regular basis since they enable them to express their sorrow and pain.

 They wished that Syria would overcome this crisis and the children could be able to go back home safely to their daily life.

Zainab Makhlouf

victory Heralds

The days passed heavily for al-Kousier people. The majority of them hold on to their homes, but after a period when the armed groups abounded their attacks targeting them, they were compelled to leave the city to safer neighboring places .

Today everyone has returned to the city. Everyone feels joy and pride to liberate the land and clean it from terrorism and murder. Many of them have come to see the ruins of their homes, which were either detonated by terrorists, or used by them as weapons' stores and gathering places. "The most important is homecoming and everything will be compensated and rebuilt again. Our main interest is to save Syria and to protect its land and people against those criminals and mercenaries. The destruction of houses  is not a matter for us, what is important for us is to remain resolute so nothing would undermine our resolve".

I have recently met in al-Kousier many inhabitants coming back knowing that their homes were demolished yet returning back to prove to the whole world that Syrians cannot be defeated ."We will rebuild our Syria and bring life to our city", one of them said.

When I asked a martyr's wife, how do you feel about the Army's victory in Homs at large and in al-Kousier in particular, "victory is what condolences me and my children," she declared.

The martyr's father stressed "I've seen  my son in every soldier who was resisting and fighting valiantly on the battlefield. I feel that those soldiers are my sons hearing my son's voice in their words and cheers."  

The bereaved mother added "I saw the eyes of my martyred son in our victorious soldiers' eyes. I feel victory as a spring blooming in every martyr who returned back to the bosom of the nation 's land."

 A lot of people gathered in the vicinity of the church . They are determined to rebuild it as well as to rebuild the destroyed mosques. They told me that terrorists did not differentiate between a church or a mosque when destroying the city. They went on damaging mosques, churches as well as hospitals and all other service facilities.

 "We came back to our city to construct our church and mosque, since they are our unity's symbols. We will do our best to help the government in rehabilitating the city's facilities to come back as it was and even better", a young man stressed confidently.

Amal Farhat

Tunisian Delegation: We are against Terrorism, Incitement Fatwas Misled Our Sons


DAMASCUS, (ST) - In a bidto curb the flow of misled Tunisian youths who came to Syria to join the armed terrorist groups in what they called "Jihad" in Syria, a delegation representing the Tunisian civil society visited Syria to talk to Syrian government and civil society sides on how to tackle the issue of the Tunisians fighting in Syria and how tofacilitate their return to their homeland.

Within this framework, a  news conference was held yesterday by some representatives of civil societies in Tunisia and Syria at the Sheraton Hotel in Damascus. Speakers in the Press conference affirmed their rejection of all forms of terrorism as it can expand overseas and it has nothing to do with humanity or religion.

Leader of the Tunisian delegation, ZuheirLatif said that families of many Tunisian detainees and fighters in Syria believed that their sons were misled and motivated by what they thought was "jihad" after they were told lies about the reality of events in Syria.

He appreciated the cooperation of the Syrian authorities and civil society parties with the Tunisian delegation and the families of Tunisian detainees to facilitate their safe return to their homeland.

Latif added that following their talks, the Tunisian and civil society sides called for releasing misled Tunisian detainees who were not proved to be involved in terrorist acts or to be red handed by the blood of the Syrian people. They urged work to force armed Tunisians in Syria to lay down weapons and ensure them a just trial under international observation.

Latif stressed that the conferees called for passing the file of the Tunisian detainees who committed terrorist acts in Syria to judiciary as soon as possible in order to be put for trial.

KhaledMahjoub, a Syrian civil society activist, pointed out that the two sides agreed to sueall who have promoted extremism and violence among the youths through calls for recruiting,  financing and sheltering terrorists . They also called for working hard to specify the parties which helped Tunisian fighters infiltrate into Syria to join the armed terrorist groups.

For his part, member of the Syrian Observatory for Violence and Terrorism Victims Anas al-Jazaeri stressed the importance of forming a wide international alliance comprising legal and civil society organizations for the prosecution of all who are proved to be involved in inciting, financing and committing terrorist acts.

He also affirmed the need to condemn and put an end to religious Fatwas and statements which incite hatred, takfiri thinking and violence that destroy societies and open the door widely for wars.

On Thursday, at the Ummayyad Mosque in Damascus, a number of Syrian and Tunisian women launched an initiative under the slogan "Women against Hatred and Terrorism". The initiative aimed at halting violence and terrorism in Syria.

Members of the Tunisian civil society delegation and families of some Tunisian detainees stressed that incitement Fatwas have misled their sons .They regretted their sons' acts and begged the Syrian people to accept their apology.

H. Mustafa

Syria marks the World Environment Day

On June 5, the State Ministry for Environmental Affairs and Damascus Countryside Governorate co-organized activities to mark the world’s Environment Day.

Minister of State for Environmental Affairs Nazira Serkis and Damascus Countryside’s Governor Hussein Khallouf participated in the environmental activities in Qudsia Suburb, 18 km western Damascus, to increase the environmental awareness and culture.

The Minister, Governor and hundreds of volunteers planted 600 saplings of Damascene jasmine, pine, rose, palm and oak in the Suburb’s squares to increase the green areas.

Later, the officials moved to open an exhibition of paintings done by children of displaced families who are living in a shelter centre, in the Suburb. The children welcomed the officials at the centre’s gate , raising the Syrian flags and President Bashar al-Assad’s posters and hailing the Syrian Arab Army in its war against  terrorist groups.

The centre is run by the government to host 160 displaced families who ran away from the armed groups. Big number of these families had returned from Lebanon’s refugee camps. The children’s paintings show the terrorist attacks, crimes and sabotages perpetrated by the armed terrorist groups. Some of paintings show the heroic operations of the Syrian Arab Army and their love to their country’s flag as a symbol of the Syrians unity.

In a press conference attended by the Syria Times,  Minister of State for Environmental Affairs Nazira Serkis said that her ministry will cooperate with all ministries and concerned sides to improve environmental situation in the areas affected by terrorists and their attacks and plant  these areas to change them into green ones.  

For his part, Governor Hussein Khallouf said: “The Governorate and the Ministry are cooperating together to organize a

program on the occasion of World Environment Day to be briefed on displaced families in shelters and engage them in environmental activities.”

The Minister of State for Environmental Affairs issued a press release, get by the Syria Times,  saying: "The 2013 theme for World Environment Day is "Think.Eat.Save." This theme aims to encourage individuals to limit wastage and losses in food and decrease the amount of food waste.

Reported by O. Mohammad

Shisha: Companion of Friends' Evenings


Water pipe smoking (more precisely known as "hookah", "narghil" and "shisha") has  attracted more than billion people all over the world especially that this traditional way of smoking is perhaps as old as mankind. Media tackled this kind of smoking in terms of its social problems that are considered "dangerous". However, it cannot be denied that this tool is used daily and for long hours by more than a million persons of men and women in Asia, Africa and Europe at cafes and at homes.

Hookah, which dated back  to  four hundred years, originated in the East, and spread with the discovery of tobacco and the spread of cafes. It used to be accompanied with a cup of coffee. High class women used to smoke Hookah daily in their  houses.

 Some researchers said that a long time ago especially in the Levant, every bride trousseau had to include hookah. It is not a simple device since its length reaches sometimes two meters. It has a complex device to cool and purify the smoke by water ending with a snake-like twisted hose, which also may reach several meters in length, in addition to a number of complex issues such as the type of smoke and the means of burning this smoke and finally the time spent by Hookah lovers smoking in silence and contemplation.

As a social phenomenon, shisha smoking was concentrated in the Mediterranean countries, and practiced for long hours by all categories of people. It is curious that smoking the shisha was a thing of the past and it was linked to the lower categories of the community only, including the makers, craftsmen and the customers of the towns' cafes.

It was also smoked in the cabins and hospices scattered on the highway, which receive drivers  who want to rest and smoke shisha  with a glass of  black tea. They  sit lazily  after a long tiring manual work and enjoy smoking for a long time. But what evokes astonishment and curiosity is that shisha smoking phenomenon has returned again more strongly at the end of the twentieth and early twenty-first century by the various segments of society  including intellectuals, the educated and the illiterate  in different times than it was in the past. Smokers used to enjoy Shisha in evenings and at nights. Whereas now it  becomes a  part of the breakfast ritual. In Yemen for example, shisha was not accustomed in cafes, but nowadays, they are teeming with what is known as resting cafes which is similar to the café  we know where shisha is smoked all the time by everyone, especially young boys.

Tobacco used in hookahs is known as Molasses. It is has different fruits flavors such as apples, cantaloupe, pineapple and strawberry.

It was  mentioned that the beginning of smoking al-Molasses dated back to many centuries ago when jars of black honey, which were charged on a ship that carried next to honey a shipment of tobacco leaves, were broken. So honey mixed with tobacco, the merchant began to  cry for his loss, then he tried to find a solution so he could save some of the consignment. He tried to smoke tobacco mixed with honey but that did not succeed , so he experimented smoking it by placing it in stone pottery and put burning coal above it 

Shisha has spread faster. Authorities in different countries such as Egypt and the United Arab Emirates tried to control or even prevent Shisha smoking in hotels and public places but it was  useless. In Tunisia, the authorities banned shisha smoking in public places, so some people outwitted this prohibition by putting  shisha inside the cafe, and made its long hose pass through the window and smoke outdoors. 

Places of smoking shisha changed from public cafes to cafeterias in the luxury hotels and places inhabited by rich people .. The  customers are now from all segments of society.

Some people said that the unprecedentedly growing number of cafeterias and coffee houses, where shisha is smoked, is because of the great  increase in the rate of unemployment among young people besides the lack of the social clubs that absorb the vast number of youths.

The amazing thing about hookah is that it had been developed so as to lend some sense of health security. The most surprising was that the owner of this preventive development was "Dokdok", the  illiterate cafe boy, who has no qualifications in life except his ability to proclaim in a prolonged loud voice " you have one apple Shisha for Pasha and Salehowoowoowo!".  Dokdok decided to put a piece of aluminum paper on a piece of pottery (the stone) which contains molasses, then he enveloped the stone so well. After that he placed coal over the aluminum paper so heat could penetrate to Molasses to give the required smoke without being penetrated by the burning coal ashes.  "Dokdok" thought  that  this "development" will beautify  bubble stock rather than the stone pottery and will lead to a clean smoke.


Amal Farhat

Social Affairs Ministry Accords Attention to Cerebral Palsy Patients

DAMASCUS, (ST) – The Social Affairs Ministry on Wednesday held a ceremony to honor students from al-Nour Institute for Children and Special Education Institute for Adults.

The said institutes  are treating patients with Cerebral Palsy.

Dr. Kinda al-Shammat , the Social Affairs Minister, toured  the said  institutes.

 "the  Ministry will do its utmost to improve services provided to people with special needs the ministry-affiliated institutes ," al-Shammat told reporters.

" the Ministry is reconsidering laws on disabilities and working to prepare legislations that will have a positive impact on people with special needs, in addition to studying the possibility of expanding financial aid given to families of cerebral palsy patients, "underscored al-Shammat.

Rana al-Dahhan, the Special Education Institute Director ,clarified that the institute provides treatment, education and vocational training to 40 patients, in addition to free medical services.

Nada Abu al-Shamat ,the Director of al-Nour Institute Director , said that the establishment caters to 70 children up to the age of 12, employing an early intervention program, physical therapy, intellectual development, and training courses for families to communicate with their disabled children correctly. The institute course also includes life skills treatment  and speech therapy.

It is worth noting that cerebral palsy is  an umbrella term that refers to a group of disorders affecting a person's ability to move .It is a permanent life-long condition ,but generally does not worsen over time .It is due to damage to the developing brain either during pregnancy or shortly after birth.

Cerebral palsy affects people in different ways and can affect body movement, muscle, control, muscle coordination, muscle tone ,reflex ,posture and balance.

Cerebral palsy is not contagious and no link with hereditary.

People who have cerebral palsy may also have visual, learning, hearing, speech, epilepsy and intellectual impairment.


Government Continues to Provide Aid to Palestinians in Syria: Al-Shammat

DAMASCUS, (ST) -The Syrian government is keen to continue providing all necessary aid and services to the Palestinian refugees in Syria, Kinda al-Shammat, Minister of Social Affairs underscored following her meeting on Tuesday with the United Nations Relief and Work Agency (UNRWA) Commissioner General Filippo Grandi.

Al-Shammat and Grandi discussed the current situation of the Syrian refugees who have been displaced to outside the Syrian territories as a result of the criminal acts being perpetrated by armed terrorist groups in the country.

The minister stressed that the Palestinian file is not a subject of debate, since the Palestinians are being and will continue to be treated the same as the Syrians.

She pointed out that her talks with the UNRWA representative focused the relief issue and the agency's concerns over how to deal with the Palestinian file in future.

Al-Shammat reiterated that Syria is the Palestinians' second homeland and that the Syrian people will never allow the Palestinian file to be a subject of debate or negotiations.

For his part, Grandi affirmed that the Syrian government is still providing the Palestinians with all kinds of services without any distinction between them and the Syrian citizens.

He added that UNRWA's mission is to provide humanitarian assistance and follow up the Palestinians' conditions under the critical circumstances Syria is being exposed to.

Grandi pointed out that the ministry of social affairs is sparing no effort to guarantee the arrival of UNRWA aid to all Palestinian refugees in need.

H. Mustafa