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Fireworks instead of mortar shells: Syrian Christians flood the streets in spiritual unity of Christmas celebrations (PHOTOS)

Fireworks instead of mortar shells: Syrian Christians flood the streets in spiritual unity of Christmas celebrations (PHOTOS)
Flashy firework displays and bright lit Christmas trees popped up all across Syria to celebrate Christmas, a joyous day not only for the Christian minority, but to people of other faiths living in the country.

Christians were among the minority groups persecuted by various Islamist militant forces, which tore Syria into pieces since 2011. The central government has managed to regain control over most of the country, and life there is slowly returning to normality. That includes celebrating Christmas openly and without fear of sectarian violence.

Aleppo remains a major center of Christianity in Syria and naturally had some of the biggest Christmas events with thousands of people flooding the streets to take part in the festivities. Roughly half of the city was controlled by jihadist groups for years, and they were ousted in the last weeks of 2016.

The capital Damascus too had its share of jubilations, complete with a big light show in the Abbasiyeen Square.

There were fireworks, parades and carols in other part of the city. And a lot of grateful prayers for an end to the constant threat of shelling from the suburbs, which were previously held by the jihadists.

Lights-decorated Christmas trees and nativity scenes adorned other Syrian cities too. Considering the country's war-torn history, the spiritual healing of Syrian people came with the heart-warming Christmas atmosphere.

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