What Two Syrian Refugees Did To Thank Greek Locals Who Helped Them This Christmas

These two embody the best of the holiday spirit.

Musstafa Musstafa and Youns Al Salem are two of 600 Syrian refugees residing at the Ritsona refugee camp in Greece, having fled violence and persecution in their home countries. This Christmas, Musstafa and Al Salem decided to spread their own brand of holiday cheer to the Greek locals by handing out red roses to them, along with a note of gratitude for their help and generosity in Greek and English — all while dressed in full Santa garb.

"For a long time we have wanted to thank the Greek locals for their help since the beginning of the current refugee crisis," they wrote in a video documenting their Christmas deed. "After the election of [Donald] Trump as president, we strongly felt like we wanted to do our part to combat fascism as well. Christmas felt like the perfect opportunity to do both."

Musstafa and Al Salem also returned to the camp to give out candy, sing, and play games with them. Katrin Collison, a volunteer at the camp who has known Musstafa and Al Salem since March, told A Plus, "They are constantly working to make the camp a better place."

The refugee crisis has sparked a wave of xenophobia across Europe as governments struggle to deal with the influx of people desperate to enter their borders. Some 57,000 refugees, more than half of them women and children, are currently stranded in Greece in their bid to cross over to western Europe. 

Though Greece has set up temporary housing for those stuck in limbo within its borders, many of them are inadequate and fall short of basic humanitarian standards. But with the help of individual volunteers and donations from across the world, non-governmental organizations have been able to procure food, water, and hygiene supplies and the like for refugee camps.

Cover image via Istvan Csak / Shutterstock.com.

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