Fri 19 Jul 2019

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Displacement Drains People of Hama and Idlib Countryside

Displaced people in Atmeh area on the Syrian-Turkish borders – May 4, 2019 (Enab Baladi)

Displaced people in Atmeh area on the Syrian-Turkish borders – May 4, 2019 (Enab Baladi)

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The displacement buses found their way back to in Northern Syria’s landscape, with the shelling ever intensifying in several areas of rural Idlib and Hama, under combined economic and living difficult conditions and the weak response on the part of several relief organizations.

The “Response Coordinators” team has documented the displacement of 43 thousand citizens since late in April to Saturday, May 4, which was when the area bore witness to a bombing escalation on the part of the Assad’s and the Russian forces in the governorate of Idlib and the north-western countryside of Hama. There, more than 91 positions were attacked, of which 13 are vital utilities, including four medical centers and hospitals, two Civil Defense posts, two IDPs camps, and another five facilities, where education was being provided.

The Civil Defense volunteers are working on the evacuation of the areas that are being bombarded in the rural parts of Idlib and Hama, transporting people to safer areas. The “Response Coordinators” Team, for its part, is mobilizing support for the help of the people affected by displacement.

 

Impoverished, People Refuse to Flee

With the numbers of IDPs increasing and fear rising over the continuity of the military offensive, some of the people are refusing to answer the Civil Defense’s calls to move into safer areas due to poverty and not wanting to leave their houses.

The village of al-Sharia, al-Ghab Plain in rural Hama, is one of the areas from where most of the population departed, following the latest offensive that targeted the area. However, a number of families still refuse to depart with their houses.

Mohammad Shaweesh, Director of the Civil Defense center in al-Ghab Plain, assured Enab Baladi that the volunteers have evacuated the largest segment of the area’s residents, which he estimated with about 30 thousand persons.

Nabil al-Sattouf, a citizen from the village of al-Sharia, nonetheless, told Enab Baladi that he did not answer the Civil Defense calls to leave his town. “There are people who cannot afford bread. How will they be capable of managing their life while displaced?”, he added.

So far, al-Sattouf said, relief organizations have not made a move, and they have not helped the IDPs.

Mohammad al-Khlaif, a farmer based in the Bab al-Taqa, neighboring the al-Sharia village, who has been displaced from the Qaber Fidda, western rural Hama, earlier on, refuses to abandon his residence and the land his is cultivating.

Interviewed by Enab Baladi, al-Khlaif said that he did not respond to the Civil Defense, attributing his refusal to his being a farmer and for not mastering any other craft, which he can practice in case he left his village.

“I prefer dying here with my children over displacement,” he added.

 

 “Be of Help” Campaign: Efforts to Lessen IDPs’ Suffering

With the relief organizations’ limited efforts, the “Response Coordinators” Team launched the “Be of Help” campaign, to mobilize support for the people, who fled the areas being targeted.

On Friday, May 3, the team posted an ad, calling the civil entities, local councils and humanitarian organizations “to address the affairs of the people displaced from the rural parts of Idlib and Hama, and help accommodate them and provide them with life’s needs.”

Mohammad al-Halaj, the Director of the “Response Coordinators” Team, told Enab Baladi that the campaign was launched as the displacement increased and to compensate for the weak humanitarian response on the part of the operating organizations.

“We are seeking to set all the entities in motion, and all the on the ground sides as to house the IDPs’ while their number increases. Many camps are overpopulated and cannot take in more people,” he added.

Commenting on the reception of the campaign, he said that response is still simple for the campaign is recent, expecting a greater action in the upcoming days.

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