Dec. 31- For many Syrians, both inside the country and in refugee camps abroad, 2013 was a devastating year that many are happy to see gone while keeping hopeful peace in the new year. Mana Rabiee reports.
For the Syrian town of Atareb, near Aleppo, 2013 was a bad year. Many here are happy to see it gone. Like much of this country beleaguered by civil war, people are considering what the New Year might bring. They hope it will be peace (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) BAKERY WORKER, HUSAM AKOUS, SAYING: "We hope this revolution will end with success. God willing everything will go back to normal at the end of this revolution." (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) LOCAL RESIDENT, ABU AYHAM, SAYING: "Hopefully all those in the refugee camps, in Homs and elsewhere, will be able to return, especially those who are suffering in the cold weather." He means camps like this one -- in neighboring Jordan where some 600,000 Syrians have taken refuge from the 2 ½ year-long war. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) ABU MAHER, SYRIAN REFUGEE SAYING: "We hope that in 2014 we will be able to return to our country, our homes, our families…Jordan was generous to us, they are also our family and our people, but people always prefer their homes." For rebels fighting President Bashar al-Assad, this is 'home'. In an increasingly sectarian war, some rebels hope 2014 will ring in an Islamist state. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) ISLAMIC REBEL FORCES MEMBER, ABUL HUDA, SAYING: "We pray that God responds to our hopes in 2014…We pray that God helps the rebel forces who are facing this regime in order to create an Islamic state." Hopes for peace but, as the year came to an end, another bleak milestone in the war was announced. An anti-Assad monitoring group said on Tuesday the number of people killed in the conflict surpassed 130,000.