A CELTIC scarf is keeping one Syrian Real Madrid supporter warm as winter nears.
Abdel Baset, 24, wore the emerald green and white hoops loosely round his neck, even during the afternoon heat of Serbia’s Indian summer.
Beside him stood a friend with a blue, red and white scarf bearing more than a passing resemblance to the colours of Celtic’s rivals from across Glasgow, Rangers.
The tyre factory worker, from Idlib in north-west Syria, is bound for Sweden. He will need the scarf.
Mr Baset said: “I do not know where Glasgow is. I support Real Madrid.”
He said the scarf came from a charity called SOS. The UK-based SOS Children’s Villages charity has an operation in Serbia. Mr Baset was waiting at a coach mustering point ahead of the short trip to the border with Croatia and further into Europe.
“I do not know where Glasgow is. I support Real Madrid.”Abdel Baset
Buses lined a dusty roadside near a Serbian government-run motel and service station.
Afghans mixed with Syrians, Iranians with Libyans. Oxfam aid workers distributed children’s clothing, other organisations provided medical support.
Mr Baset is one of thousands fleeing Syria’s bitter civil war.
People used a water truck provided by the Serbian government to wash themselves and their clothing, wringing out dripping shirts and dousing their heads, some clutching tennis shoes in one hand after donning sandals. Others were in bare feet.
Oxfam aid workers were surrounded in a tight circle as they handed out children’s clothes, parents and children crowded round.
Mr Baset stood outside his coach, whiling away the hours until a train at the border a few minutes away was ready to depart for Croatia.
He twirled the ends of the Celtic scarf with both hands and volunteered: “The scarf keeps me warm.”
He said he was grateful for the gift, probably from some unknown Scotsman or Irishman.
His aim is to find work in Scandinavia.
“I do not want a handout, I am proud to work.”