Unified Body Runs Deir ez-Zor People’s Affairs in Northern Syria
Several demands have been made by Deir ez-Zor’s people internally displaced to Northern Syria, including the formation of a unified entity that bring them together under its shade and discuss the major difficulties facing them in the regions they were displaced to, in addition to facilitating and running their affairs.
On February 18, the first founding conference of the Deir ez-Zor Internally Displaced Persons Committee in the city of Afrin, northern Aleppo, was held in the presence of a massive number of personalities and provincial bodies, based in the liberated areas.
The conference, attended by Enab Baladi, discussed the challenges posed to Deir ez-Zor’s displaced people, naming the difficulties, the solutions and the importance of coming up with a unified body that unifies the displaced people themselves and represent them, being their mouthpiece inside Syria and abroad.
Adnan al-Dakheel, the conference’s general coordinator, told Enab Baladi that following eight years of strategic forced displacement, which the people of Deir ez-Zor have been subjected to, it was difficult to call the people to a meeting from the different areas of displacement, thus justifying the failure of the former efforts at founding a unified entity.
Al-Dakheel added that the failure had an impact on the reality of the displaced people who have been clearly wronged for not having a unified entity to represent them and channel their suffering.
“Accordingly, a general invitation was directed to all those who could attend and those who find themselves capable of representing the governorate’s internally displaced persons. A good number of competent persons, national and revolutionary personalities managed to meet, in addition to representatives of the tribes and delegates from the governorate’s cities and towns, who all proposed their difficulties and suggested solutions,” he said.
There are no official statistics about the number of people displaced from Deir ez-Zor in Northern Syria, except for a single census done by the Sharq/ East Relief Office of the number of the governorate’s people in Afrin only, showing that there are 600 families.
Commenting on this, engineer Suhail al-Jrad, the director of the Sharq Relief Office, said that after arriving in the city of Afrin, the office individually started to record the number of Deir ez-Zor’s families in the Olive Branch areas, as to identify their needs and communicate with relief organizations to offer them needed aid.
He added telling Enab Baladi that the major obstacle was the absence of an organized committee, with official status, to communicate with the local councils and the civil society organizations. This is the reason why the efforts were always below the level of the displaced people’s suffering.
Ameen al-Mashhur, representing the Deir ez-Zor Internally Displaced Persons Civil Affairs Directorate, said that the major difficulty facing the displaced people is the loss of their identity documents.
“The majority of Deir ez-Zor’s people have lost their identity documents, which have been either damaged or confiscated by the Islamic State or at the camps of the Syrian Democratic Forces,” he said, pointing out that there is a risk that a whole generation would grow up in the areas of displacement without having identity documents.
Ziad al-Malati, the mayor of the city of Deir ez-Zor, stressed the importance of having a unified committee that brings together the displaced people, because there are people abroad who are representing Deir ez-Zor and its people, while they do not even belong to them, as he put it.
“Some of them tried to exploit the governorate’s pain as to realize personal gains, and such a step, [referring to the Committee being formed], is the proper and real form to represent the governorate that has been suffering from marginalization and negligence,” he added.
At the end of the conference, an executive office was elected, consisting of seven members, in addition to the head of the council. The attendees also assigned a period, a maximum of 45 days, to conduct the second founding conference, as to form service offices, such as relief, healthcare, education and other offices.