Damascus celebrates Palm Sunday for 1st time in 5 years

It was a sight that hasn’t been seen in this suburb of Damascus in five years-Orthodox Christians celebrating Palm Sunday.

The day is part of a series of observances that culminate in the celebration of the Christian holiday of Easter.

Christians make up 11 nearly percent of Syria’s population.

The largest Christian denomination in Syria is the Greek Orthodox Church, which uses a different religious calendar than the Roman Catholic church.

Because of the war few worshipers have been able to celebrate religious moments like Palm Sunday.

But a temporary truce introduced over a month ago has greatly reduced violence.

Worshippers in some areas took advantage of the lull to gather in churches and celebrate.

The war has killed more than 250,000 people, created the world’s worst refugee crisis and allowed for the rise of the Islamic State group.

But on this day, these Christians in the Damascus suburb of Jobar gathered to light candles and pray, and hope that next year, the area will be peaceful enough that they’ll be able to do it again.