Damascenes unite to make Eid sweets

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Syria may be divided, but residents of the capital Damascus are coming together to prepare sweets for the upcoming holiday of Eid al-Adha.

The culinary creations will be distributed to families in need in the city.

During Eid families usually bake the traditional sweets in their homes to share with family and friends. But the ongoing bloodshed in the country means ingredients are in short supply, and some don't have the means to make or bake the sweets.

“We are trying to help these families to do their duties towards their children and guests without any embarrassment” said Issam Habbal who is running the 'Saed' initiative.

Unlike other volunteering schemes, the group doesn't accept cash donations, but instead they prefer ingredients to be donated for the cause.

The premises where the voluntary chefs are making the Eid sweets was provided by local businessman Nawar Ismandar, who said it's the least he could do for his fellow Syrians.

“I gave the café to be a place for the initiative because Syrian people are generous people and I am a Syrian man and this is the least I can offer as a Syrian to serve my country” he said.

Eid this year comes at a time when groups and activists have warned that children are now dying of malnutrition as hunger is a growing threat to Syrians living in regions hit by the civil war.

Save the Children cited reports suggesting a quarter of Syrian families go as much as a week at a time without being able to buy food. Food is often available but prices have doubled in the last year and poverty is rising.

According to the World Food Program (WFP), about 4.25 million people need food aid U.N. agencies are preparing to launch a new appeal for aid to help victims of the conflict, which began in March 2011 and shows no sign of ending.