MARDIN, Turkey — Walking along the narrow roads of Gul Mahallesi (literally translated as the Rose Neighborhood), one of the central districts of the southeastern city of Mardin, one stumbles upon a small church called Mor Petrus and Mor Pavlus Church. This rectangular building is relatively obscure in this city known for its many churches, from Syriac Catholic to Protestant, most of them centuries old.
Neli Haddid opens the large, wooden door of the church, which has been attacked with paint blocking its name, to visitors. Haddid, a 48-year-old refugee who has fled from the civil war in Syria, arrived in Mardin in 2016 with her husband, two sons and a daughter. With the help of Christian Syriac relatives in the city, they took refuge in the church, where she now works as a cleaner and helps out with the ceremonies. It is the first job this homemaker from Aleppo has ever had.