DAMASCUS, Nov. 5 (Xinhua) -- This year's Eid al-Adha in Syria does not resemble any previous one, with the used-to-be joyous festival atmosphere overshadowed by the nearly eight months of unabated unrest in the country.
Damascus, which has shunned itself from the violence that hit other different parts of the country, seems busy ahead of Eid al- Adha, or the Feast of Sacrifice, one of the most important feasts on the Muslim calendar, with people thronging to markets for shopping.
However, shop owners say their business is not as prosperous as it looks like. "Eid was one of the best periods for the increase in revenues... We are well stocked and are carrying a good selection of clothes... There are many spectators, but in fact there are few buyers," said Hassan Masri, owner of a clothes shop in downtown Damascus.
Hana Massoud, a mother of three, told Xinhua as she was shopping for shoes and clothes: "We are doing our best to go out of the sad mood that has overshadowed our lives... but regretfully unable to do that... I feel great sadness to what has befallen our country."
Syrians are impatiently waiting for a full implementation of a peace plan initiated by the Arab League (AL) and accepted by the Syrian government on Wednesday. The plan calls for halt of all kinds of violence across the country before the launch of a national dialogue between the government and the opposition.
However, conflicting reports coming from different opposition figures have dwindled hopes among Syrians and raised fears that the crisis would not see a foreseeable solution.
The Syrian Free Army, which was recently formed by defected army members, has reportedly agreed to stick to the provisions of the AL plan, but the Syrian National Council, which was announced by some opposition groups in Istanbul in October, seemed reluctant to participate in the dialogue with the government.
"We reject dialogue with a regime that has committed gross violations since its approval of the plan," the council said.
Some opposition figures contended that the government has failed to make good on any of its many promises since the eruption of anti-government protests in mid March.
Fayez Sarah, a prominent opposition figure, has reportedly said that the opposition is "not concerned with the AL plan," complaining that the AL has not contacted any of the opposition figures.
The U.S. State Department, while hailing Syria's approval of the AL plan, said there is still no clear indication that the Syrian government intends to live up to its pledges, warning that Syria will only deepen its international isolation if it fails to abide by the deal.
The European Union also urged the Syrian leadership to associate words with deeds and fulfill its promises.
Another frustrating indicator is the Syrian media's accounts about horrible crimes allegedly committed in the central province of Homs by unidentified terrorist groups. The attacks claimed the lives of dozens of army personnel and civilians in a single day that followed the Syrian government's approval of the AL plan.
The government said the flare-up in violence was meant to thwart the AL plan, while the opposition groups blamed the government forces for failing to shoulder a full responsibility for the bloody incidents, and cast doubts over the government's real intention to put an end to violent acts.
Pan-Arab Al-Jazeera TV channel cited activists on Friday as saying that at least 25 people were killed in Homs and accused the government of bombarding the city, a step they said was contradictory to the essence of the AL plan.
The United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is scheduled to meet with representatives of the Syrian National Council soon in Cairo to press for launching a dialogue with the Syrian government.
Although it has approved the AL plan and showed readiness to embark on dialogue with opposition groups, the Syrian government insists that such dialogue should be held exclusively inside Syria, raising doubts over whether the two sides could reach an agreement and actually carry out the dialogue.