Breaking News

Syrian Rural Oven, Attractive Tourist Phenomenon, Means Supporting People's Life

The Syrian rural oven, which has become a popular phenomenon in our country, has a very old story that goes on with tales of women in the countryside who gather around it and exchange happy and sad news in addition to a lot of funny tales while making their delicious bread.

According to some people, the oven is no more than a small corner in the house that can be used only to change paste into bread. For others, and from a scientific point of view, building an oven reflects the genius of the oven's first-builder who had made use from the three most important discoveries humanity had ever witnessed which are: fire, pottery, and domestic wheat.

A few of us know that only skillful persons can build an oven.  They had to be accurate while mixing tile with clay to build the oven walls then they must make a hole in the bottom of the oven in order to drive ashes out. When heating process begins, the oven must be anointed with a piece of cloth wetted with water and salt.

In the past, the oven was one of the most important characteristics of rural life. Every two or three families had their own oven where women make bread for their families.

 Ovens began to disappear gradually due to life developments. Nowadays, ovens have restored their important role as an attractive tourist phenomenon and as a means supporting rural people's life.

 The Syrian folkloric ovens have become a popular phenomenon that can be noticed along Syrian tourist and mountainous roads. They have become very important stops for every traveler or tourist who seeks enjoying the charming nature and tasting the delicious food and pastries baked with various flavors such as cheese, shinkleesh, chard and red pepper.

Oven owners are keen to use sweet-smelling fragrant plants such as basil, oak, and sage as firewood because such plants give special and distinguished flavor to bread.                                           

A lot of people wonder what makes us enjoy eating such kind of simple food. Emotionally speaking, I think, it is because of the smell and the taste of such food which take us back to the simple life that our grandparents had lived. Our grandmothers were experts in preparing healthy food depending on natural resources.

Amal Farhat

Heinous crimes in the name of Alsharia




 “Yesterday Al Jazeera interviewed Jabhat al Nusrah Al Qaeda terrorists in Aleppo Syria asking them who they are!!!! The commander responded: “we’re bunch of oppressed people who the world has condemned , and they come here to Syria from around the world for Jihad!!!! He claimed :”we don’t have links to any internal or external forces in Syria and we fight for the establishment of an Islamic state based on Sharia.

 Our lives are being made hell by the armed groups. We are all wearing coats in the house. We are freezing in the winter. There is no fuel. There is no gaz, the price of any material doubled, because of the sanctions on Syria..Is this your Sharia?

Yet, every western government is pretending to be speaking for the Syrian people. In fact, they are completely ignoring what the Syrian people want. The Syrian people want peace, security and return to normal life. The Syrian people have had enough with the unscrupulous world powers playing with the plight of the Syrian people and causing us more suffering while they reside in palaces and hotels, travel with bodyguards and worry about feeling too full at the dinner tables. They don’t worry about the millions of the Syrian people who are shivering in their beds either out of fear, cold or hunger. We tell them, please stop meddling in our affairs under the pretext of helping the Syrian people….

Yesterday In the cold streets of Damascus, in snow weather. I stopped on two checkpoints for the Syrian army, there was a soldier, or more, they are men, real men,  great Syrian men standing in this tough weather, with tender smile on the face and very tiring eyes, just to protect us, to protect Syria from destruction, from those who came to Syria in the name of sharia or jihad, one of them asked me : are you going to work? I answered: yes, he smiled and asked me not to be late because the snow will be thicker, I couldn't help myself from crying, he is caring about me than himself, he wants me to comeback safe to my home, but he will stand there all day and night, just for us to be safe, God bless the Syrian soldiers protecting the people against terrorism.


Butheina Alnounou




Some SYP 120mln Transferred to Civil Society Associations to Provide Relief Services to Terrorism-Hit Families

DAMASCUS, (ST) - As part of the government's plan to ease the suffering of the victims of armed terrorist groups, the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs transferred an amount of (SYP) 120 million to 105 civil society associations working in the relief field as a financial aid with the purpose of supporting these associations and help them provide necessary assistance to terrorism-hit families living in and outside temporary housing centers.

Jasem Mohammad Zakarayya, Minister of Labor and Social Affairs, said in a statement to SANA that "The financial aid is to enable civil society associations to meet all the requirements of displaced families in temporary housing centers, including diesel oil, stoves, winter clothes and other basic needs. In addition, a kind of financial assistance is to be presented to citizens in need under the Ministry's supervision."

Minister Zakarayya, who reiterated the need to render assistance to all terrorism victims in different areas of the country, pointed out that within the National Relief Program the Higher Relief Committee provides assistance to 400 thousand affected families in and outside temporary housing centers based on its own data.

"The Higher Committee, in cooperation with concerned parties and in coordination with the Syrian Red Crescent Society as well as the civil society association, is following up the distribution of the aid and working hard to eliminate obstacles hindering the transferring of the this aid in order to guarantee just distribution.

Financial aid is provided to remarkably active civil society associations which proved ability to run relief activities.


H. Moustafa

On the eve of the new year

There are moments in a man's life when one has to say farewell, yet this carries hope and the will of renewal.

A year passes away leaving its imprints on everything: the masses and their movements, events and their effects, the good and what brings of happiness, evil and its misery, nature and the changes of its signposts, knowledge which increases and civilization with its progress and development.

Yes... let's us open new pages and write new lines about the new year. Let us write with hope, with aspiration to the good of mankind, with our self- confidence to live effectively extending the hand of love to every one, for the new world, the shining sun, the blue sky, the fresh air, peace, love, brotherhood,  for the children and their innocence, hope for hope and a bright future for mankind.

with all those things, we receive our new days, our new year.What happiness we long for! what hopes we aspire to! What meetings will be! What changes will take place!

The first day begins. I imagine that I am wandering from one place to another, to see families having their delicious meals and drinks. In the eyes of the members of these families are the flashes of pain, yet their hearts beat for a real pleasure in the future. The faces are laughing though what they have faced over the past year. Their thoughts are blooming in spite of the hardships they have suffered. All people are meeting, laughing and singing a new happy year.

On this occasion, I cannot help remembering my homeland. Will those who are sad for a long time be happy again? Will they meet around the table of unity? Will the terrorism be defeated? Will justice triumph?

On this new year's eve, we will stand up to our dignity and honor. Oh.. our Jerusalem, Golan we shall return to you. History writes it down, time passes and our nation is not going to surrender to injustice. We will return to you as a new year has come. We will return to carry olive branches, exchange greetings and sit around, we will be glad to receive the new year.




Syria Times Reporters Tour Yarmouk Camp




Displaced Palestinian families began returning  to their houses in the Yarmouk Camp after they were enforced to leave their homes by the armed terrorist groups’ attacks on them.

The families  were forced to leave the camp last Sunday, following hard terrorists attacks on them, and they were welcomed by Syrian families, the governmental schools and UNRWA’s schools and training centers in and around Damascus.

According to Palestinian humanitarian activists about seven thousand Palestinians could return to their houses in the camp.

Syria Times reached to the camp and met with families who returned to their houses after days of displacement : Yusuf, 40, Palestinian refugee lives with his wife and four children in Aroubah quarter , southern the Yarmouk Camp said to Syria Times reporter, while he was fixing his house and preparing it for his frightened family’s members:

“ I am so happy that I could return to my house again. When we left last Sunday’s afternoon, I expected I will never ever see my  house again. We were living in peace and calm in the camp and practice normal life till those armed terrorists attacked our quarter and enforced us to leave. They were very hard with us and told us to leave in few hours or we will be killed. In a rush, I told my wife to prepare some garments and clothes for the children to leave the house. I phoned my brother who lives in Jiddedah Artouz, 15km south western Damascus, and told him to host us. My brother was very kind with us and he offered for us what we need although he is very poor man who has five sons and daughters. I will never forget the hardest two hours till we could leave the camp. The armed terrorists were touring in their arms and frighten unarmed residents who were running with their sons, women, elders and carrying big bags in their hands. I am happy that the Syrian Arab Army helped us to return to our  houses in peace. The Palestinians will never forget what the President Bashar Al-Assad and Syrian government offered them. Palestinians in Syria want to live in peace and they are guests in this country till they can return to their hometowns in the occupied Palestinian territories.”

Syria Times made a tour in the camp and watched how life began returning  to normalcy. Some shops, restaurants, and bakeries are opened for people who wanted to buy their needs and food stuff. Dozens of cars and trucks were driving in the Camp’s main street.

There were some families were waiting at the Camp’s northern entrance near Al-Basher Mosque, for their relatives and families’ members to entre to the camp together.

Abu Kinan, 45, a Palestinian refugee who  works in a private textile factory southern Damascus. He lives in his father-in-law’s house, near Al-Wassim Mosque in the Yarmouk Camp, with his family because they were enforced to leave their own house in Al-Hajar Aswad suburb, southern Damascus, which was attacked by the terrorist groups. Abu Kinan’s family was enforced to be displaced  for the second time in three months. He said:

“ I am calling the Syrian Arab Army to eliminate  these terrorist groups from the country. Syria was the most secure and stable state in the region. My family and I  are suffering for more than four months from those killers who use Islam and democratic slogans to cover their crimes. We left our house in Alhajar Aswad to move to my father-in-law’s three-room house in the Yarmouk Camp. My children were suffering hard to reach to their schools and saw the armed fighters deployed  around their schools and frightening  them. I left the camp as all people did last Sunday to a governmental school in Al-Zahara to spent a hard cold night with other displaced families; then next day I went to Khan Sheih Camp, 25km south western Damascus, to my friend’s house who offered us a room to spend three days. I and other hundred of Palestinian refugees organized a big rally on Thursday, December21, calling for the  kicking off of  all armed fighters and terrorists from the camp. The Palestinian camps in Syria always were safe and secure shelters for all people and should be kept safe and unarmed zone for Palestinian refugees and their Syrian brothers. No Arab state deals with Palestinians as Syria does. We , Palestinian refugees, have equal rights as Syrian citizens in all walks of life. We can work in private and public sectors, we get free education in the governmental schools and universities, and we can get free healthcare services in public hospitals and health centres. We should reward Syria and its government for all of these favors,  not stand against it. we should stand with the Syrian leadership to overcome this crisis. Friend in deed is a friend in need.”

The Camp’s residents began cleaning streets and opening shops to stress their will to keep life in the camp and challenge the terrorist groups who wanted to take the smile from the children and pushed the residents to leave their houses. The camp could overpass the crisis and give a hope that Syria will return as it was a homeland for all Arabs.


O.H/ I A




Leisure clubs to compensate Syria's affected children for missing education

With a viewto alleviatingthe suffering of children in Syria, Education Ministry and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) are working together to open leisure clubs in areas affected by armed terrorist groups' acts.

As a first step, the clubs opened in Daraa province target first and second stages of basic education, and it would include in the future secondary education in "al-Dorra" school in the city. 

The main goals of the clubs are to compensateaffected children for missing education opportunities, guarantee social and psychological welfarefor them, and restore the sense of normal life to them.

5 clubs

IyadKholi, a social worker, sees the experience of clubs as an opportunity for children to express their preferences through activities being held in hard times during which children feel loneliness.

"In August 2011, the clubs were opened within five schools in the province; three of which are in the city and the other two are in "Jasem" and "Harra" in the countryside," said Kholi.

He clarified that teachers, schools' directors, social workers, and volunteers have followed training courses organized by the UNICEF in cooperation with local parties concerned to work in the clubs.

The courses dealt with social and psychological support, first aid, and mental health, according to SANA reporter.

One of the clubs' students, Sari al-Saeed, said: "in the city (Daraa city), private schools and institutes which were receiving students in summer vacation have been closed."

The current events lead to both psychological and physical problems, not to mention lost of filling leisure times in activities that are useful for person and society. 

Children aged between 2-15 have paid the highest price in these events as they have been prevented from developing their preferences at personal or educational levels.


Life style

Violence has forced children to change their life style to a new one that does not go along with children's age and requirements of the Age.

Abo Mohammad, father of a student in "al-Dorra" school praised the experience that has successfully changed his son's life style after communication with his classmates.

He noted that the club's students have only one day off on Friday, describing the club as a safe place for children.

"Children sound veryenthusiastic and satisfied because of the existence of their classmates and the care being offered to them," said the father, hoping to apply the same experience in other schools in the province.

EmOmar, is a mother who refused at the beginning to send her children, who love music, to the club because she fear for them from the current events.

"At home, my children were only talking about violence as they saw killed people in the city," said the mother, stressing that her children's talks have changed after they went to the club.

Protecting environment

Director of "That al-Netaqain" school, Hala al-Taani, has a leading environmental club within the school consisting of 22 students to spread environmental awareness among students and enhance cooperation in this regard.

"This experience is the first in the province and we are planning to implement it in other schools," said al-Taani.

All year round, the club team which is divided into three groups distributes brochures on protecting environment, water, air, and soil.

In cooperation with circles concerned in the province, the groups screen educational films and give lectures on environmental awareness.

Moreover, contest are being organized at level of school and followed by distributing prizes among winners, and exposing drawings in the school's lobby.

This experience is just an example of other initiatives and activities being launched by the Syrian government, Non-Governmental Organizations and Local community to help affected people across Syria.

Translated by: BasmaQaddour

National Initiative to Train Youths to Enter Job Market




Exactly one year and fifteen days have passed since the launch of Khbrat initiative [Khbrat is a slang means: experiences], which aims to train youths free of charge to enter the job market.

The national initiative is a fruit of collective cooperation between well known Syrian companies , institutes and local community. It presents three programs on life skills, administrative training, and practical experience.

The team

The initiative's general coordinator, Mr.Alaa Ed-Din al-Aeedy, told the Syria Times reporter, Basma Qaddour,  that the "Khbrat" team includes four administrative coordinators, more than 30 volunteers working for the Syria Trust for Development, and around 20 trainers and partners.

Most of the team's members attended the 1st annual forum held on Tuesday at Reda Saeed Hall in Damascus University to honor trained youths and partners.

1300 beneficiaries

Following the forum,  al-Aeedy told us: "The initiative launched by the Syria Trust for Development was planning to train 800 youths in a year. But today the beneficiary number reached 1300 youths, who followed 74 training courses held in several companies in Damascus and Damascus countryside in a year."

This success raised the team's spirit and encouraged it to go ahead in this initiative, looking forward to spread such activities in other areas across Syria.

So thus, members of the "Khbrat" Facebook  ( ) reached 4500, according to the initiative's coordinator's remark. 

Trainees speak

One of the beneficiaries, Miss. Yara Nashawati, a University student at Faculty of Architecture Engineering, said: "Last July, I followed a two-day course on Human Resources at Administrative Department in the Technical Company for Food Industry (Hana meats).I've been trained to present my architectural designs to be convinced to companies or individuals."

Her colleague at the university, Mohammad al-Hamwi, who also took part in the same course, echoed the same words, adding: "I have also learned how to communicate with strangers."

The youths' trust in the initiative is one reason for the continuity of the national initiative, while the other one is partners' full support.


Among the partners we can number: Syriatel, Asia Institute, the Technical Company for Food Industry, Succar Company, Katakit Company, Haram Exchange Company, and the Syrian Insurance Federation Company.

Mrs. Maha Shwihni, from "Succar" Company for Electronic Industries said: "We are a partner in this initiative because we believe in social responsibility towards governmental sector and local community and universities."

She sees that the private sector has to play a key role besides the public one in developing society.

These words translated into action through holding several courses for university and school students at the company's headquarter , and employing five distinguished youths (selected from the students followed the courses) in the company.

"The Secondary school students took part in the courses have learned how to set up a company and to build their profiles as they have now enough time to build themselves. They are creative and good and made excellent presentations," said Mrs. Shwihni .

Mrs.Hivi Mustafa from " Haram" Exchange Company said: "From the view point of human resources' management, such courses are significant to enter job market. The company has selected a distinguished person from the course to join its staff."

All these efforts seek to bridge the gap between academic study and job market.

In this context, a trainer accredited by the Trust, Mr. Mohammad Basatneh, told us: "The training courses are based on our study for the companies' requirements. We train youths to be able to get a job in the market.

He is specialized in communication skills, body language, and team building. He is taking part in voluntary works to help university students and graduate ones to enter job market.

How to join courses

Regarding mechanism of joining courses, Basatneh clarified:" we put an advertisement about the courses in the Facebook and university centers. So the student can choose the course according to his/her interest."

He asserted that all youths apply to do the courses are being accepted, and they can choose the course after consultations with the initiative's team.    

Basatneh sees that the interactive courses being convened within the framework of the "Khbrat" initiative as useful for both trainees and trainers.

The 2013 plan, as the initiative's general coordinator declared, aims to hold around 150 courses to train 4000 youths.

The increasingly number of beneficiary and partners reflects the Syrian people's challenge to the current difficult circumstances, and their determination to build their homeland.

Basma Qaddour