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An elderly man reads verses of the Quran, Islam's holy book, on the first day of the fasting month of Ramadan in the grand Mosque in the old city of Sanaa, Yemen, Wednesday, July 10, 2013. Muslims began observing the dawn-to-dusk fast for the month of Ramadan across the Middle East on Wednesday, even as the region is shaken by the crisis in Egypt and the U.N. food agency warned that Syria's civil war has left 7 million people in need of food aid.

Hani Mohammed, Associated Press - Ap

Many Muslims start Ramadan fast amid turmoil

  • July 10, 2013 - 12:18 PM

BEIRUT — Many devout Muslims in the Middle East have started observing the dawn-to-dusk fast for the month of Ramadan even as the region is rocked by Egypt's turmoil and the relentless civil war in Syria.

For most Sunnis and Shiites, Ramadan started on Wednesday while others are expected to begin observing the holy month on Thursday — differences based on various sightings of the new moon.

Nowhere is the hardship for this Ramadan starker than in Syria, where the civil war is now in its third year. The U.N. says at least 93,000 people have been killed since the conflict erupted.

Syria's fragile currency has reached an all-time low while food and fuel prices are soaring. The U.N. says over 4 million Syrians risk going hungry because they can't afford food.

© 2014 Star Tribune