'I want to help rebuild our country and bring back peace'
Another Ramadan tradition that Mohamed hopes to be revived is the Mesaharati.
Dubai - Mohamed says he has been hearing news of the old city being revitalised and slowly the state of recovery is gaining traction.
As Aleppo is slowly building up from the ashes of a destructive civil war, Syrian expat Mohamed Hamwi, 36, a lifeguard supervisor at the Dubai Municipality, hopes one day he can come back home and celebrate Ramadan at his motherland.
"The last time I celebrated Ramadan in my home country was in 2000," Mohamed shares with Khaleej Times. "I miss celebrating Ramadan with my family back home, neighbors and especially my Mom."
"I have been celebrating Ramadan in Dubai for 18 years now but I can still recall how we celebrated Ramadan in my hometown - it was really good, peaceful, and quiet. Everyone was busy with their own family and friends but we always found time to be together," Mohamed, who lives in Bur Dubai, recalls.
"Our big family always gathered at our elders' house during Ramadan. We took fast, prayed, broke our fast and had Iftar together. We spread love and kindness from our home to our neighbors. We gave food to the needy. We shared sweets, listened to recitations of the Holy Quran. We always visited each other's house and we kept track of each other. Unlike now, because of the war, we don't know where are the others," Mohamed rues.
"But hope is the anchor that every Syrian is holding on to," adds Mohamed. "It has helped Aleppo face every hardship in the past and it is with a fervent hope that we are going to rebuild our city and enjoy life after years of hardships."
The Syrian army declared Aleppo under full control on December 22, 2016, after the last batch of terrorists were booted out from the city, ending years of people's suffering from Daesh.
Mohamed says he has been hearing news of the old city being revitalised and slowly the state of recovery is gaining traction. "There are events happening this Ramadan showing that life has returned to normal as many of the old city markets were re-opened and economic activities are being revived," says Mohamed.
"Aleppo's unique traditions, especially with regard to the selection of traditional food and beverages, are being revived. At the old markets, that were not completely razed to the ground, events are being held this holy month reflecting the authenticity of the past, particularly at family gatherings during Iftar and Suhoor."
"People now can at least hear again melodic Aleppo music and try on traditional outfits. They can listen again to folklores from Hakawatis or storytellers in ancient coffee shops who regale people with some time-tested stories on love and heroism," Mohamed shares.
Another Ramadan tradition that Mohamed hopes to be revived is the Mesaharati. A masaharat is a traditional drummer who walks around the village before dawn, waking up everyone to eat before their fast begins.
He underscores: "I'm happy to see signs that Aleppo is rising from war and death as people are determined to work and live despite all the difficulties. We are embracing life to the fullest, rising from the rubbles of the war, as we send a beautiful message to the world about our heritage.
"I also want to help rebuild our country and bring back peace and security after all the destruction and war. And this Ramadan, the intention of my fasting is to make a sacrifice to please Allah. I also fast for world peace and not just for Syria because if there is peace in the rest of the world, then there will be no reason to have war in Syria," Mohamed concludes.