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Syrians on haj urge for peace; Damascus says Riyadh plays politics

Syrians on haj urge for peace; Damascus says Riyadh plays politics


MECCA, Saudi Arabia Syrians from domain hold by hostile sides in a polite fight prayed together for assent as they flew to Mecca for a haj, even as President Bashar al-Assad’s supervision indicted Saudi Arabia of politicizing a annual Muslim pilgrimage.

Riyadh has no tactful ties with Damascus and requires Syrians seeking to make a haj to obtain visas in third countries by a cabinet tranquil by a Syrian National Coalition (SNC), an anti-Assad antithesis body.

“Saudi Arabia now does not understanding with a legitimate supervision (in Syria) though rather with people who are not recognized, and so a shortcoming for safeguarding these people falls on a Saudi government,” Sheikh Ahmed al-Jazaily, an confidant during Syria’s Islamic Affairs ministry, told Reuters by telephone.

Tamam al-Khatib, an SNC official, pronounced Saudi Arabia gave a organisation 9,000 visas for Syrian pilgrims staying in Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt and Turkey.

For Syria, that had 23 million people before a war, that is distant reduction than a common share of 1,000 visas per million Muslims, Jazaily said. All robust Muslims who have a means are approaching to make a event once in their lifetimes.

Whichever side they came from, Syrians on house a moody from Beirut to Mecca done no discuss of their differences and pronounced a event transcended politics.

Safaa, 40, pronounced she had trafficked from government-controlled Damascus with her parents, her sister, her hermit and his wife, notwithstanding a problem of arranging a trip.

“All a friends and kin in Damascus asked us to make special prayers for them while in a Grand Mosque,” pronounced Safaa, wearing a seamless white cloth all pilgrims contingency use during haj. “God willing, we will urge for them and all of Syria.”

Mariam, 60, done a tour from Talfita, an opposition-held encampment north of a Syrian capital.

“We left a fight and pang and came to haj. By God … we prolonged to see a Prophet,” she said, as her cousin Khadra gazed during white clouds and a yellow dried below. “May God give Syria a remission.”

None of a Syrian pilgrims who spoke to Reuters on a moody would give their surnames, to strengthen kin behind home. Nor would any contend that side they support in a 5 year conflict, that has killed hundreds of thousands of people and done 11 million Syrians homeless.

Open contention of politics is traditionally barred during a haj. However, Reuters met usually members of Syria’s Sunni Muslim infancy on a flight; there seemed to be no members of Assad’s minority Alawite sect, an appendage of Shi’ite Islam, many of whose adherents see Saudi Arabia as a narrow-minded enemy.

Jazaily, a Syrian supervision advisor, pronounced Damascus would not retard Syrians from holding partial in a haj, though would not be means to offer them protection.

“From a side, we are not interlude anybody from going to haj,” he said. “But if a traveller goes on his own, are his rights protected? If they faced a problem, where will they turn?”

(Editing by Sami Aboudi, William Maclean and Peter Graff)

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