More than a dozen displaced Iraqi families living in Jordan took part in Christmas festivities at a church in Amman on Friday, December 18.

Organisers at the Sacred Heart of Jesus Church prayed for peace in the region.

The director of the Catholic Centre for Studies and Media Fr. Rif’at Bader said they wanted to put a smile on the faces of the children and their families.

“On this day we are happy to receive the children from Iraq who immigrated with their families from Mosul more than a year ago. This is their second Christmas in Jordan as they were forced to leave their countries. We know that it is very sad but we, in this Christmas, we try to draw the smile in their faces,” he said.

Dawood Dawood, one of the Iraqis taking part in the celebration, said the instability in his country did not enable him to celebrate the event.

“This occasion has been missing for us in Iraq because of conditions you know about, here in Jordan, thank God and thanks to the efforts of the good and kind people like our Fr. Rif’at treated especially Iraqis with great attention and the happiness for children is really great,” he said.

Children received gifts from Santa Claus.

Firas Ghazi and his wife and two children were among those who took part in the event.

“I hope in these holidays peace will prevail not only in Iraq, but in all the world,” he said.

Iraq has been fighting back after Islamic State militants overran a third of the country in 2014. The conflict has displaced more than three million Iraqis.