Efforts to develop IDP camp in northern Syria

Stone housing units for IDPs in the province of Idlib - 7 February 2020 (Molham Volunteering team)

Stone housing units for IDPs in the province of Idlib - 7 February 2020 (Molham Volunteering team)


A series of attacks in Syria’s rebel-held Idlib province, mounted by the Russian-backed Syrian regime forces, has resulted in higher numbers of displaced and war-affected persons. The humanitarian organizations and relief teams are trying to meet the needs of civilians fleeing the cold weather and the escalating violence in the area.

From November 2019 to 14 February 2o2o, the number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) increased significantly to reach nearly 900,000. IDP camps have become crowded with the new arrivals.

Public buildings such as schools, mosques, prisons turned into shelters provided with modest services for the displaced. Still, a large number of people did not find housing shelters. Therefore, they shelter themselves in the open air, streets, and squares.

Some non-governmental organizations work to provide the IDPs with stone houses in many areas, which are supposed to be relatively safe in Idlib and its countryside.

Molham Volunteering Team (MVT) initiated a project ten days ago for constructing stone housing units with insulated canvas roofs.

Baraa Babouli, the director of the shelter sector in the MVT, told Enab Baladi, that the team is striving to establish between 114 and 120 stone housing units in the villages of Barisha and Tur Laha in rural Idlib.

The MVT works on building 80 stone housing units; each housing unit consists of two rooms with an area of 32 square meters (m²) for large households. The MVT is also establishing 40 housing units for small families. Each unit has one room with an area of 24 m². The cost of a one-room housing unit is 250 USD and 500 USD for a two-room housing unit.

Babouli added that the housing units could accommodate approximately 120 families, and have already started receiving affected families, in parallel with other construction of schools and mosques near the housing units.

The MVT also plans to build 36 housing units and 160 others on the neighboring lands. The MVT buys lands from their owners (obtaining land title certificates) and subsequently starts building housing units for the IDPs.

Abrar Humanitarian Relief Organization has taken similar steps; Abrar carried out a project, covering a total area of 6.5 hectares (65000 m²), which can accommodate a thousand residential rooms. Nearly one hundred residential housing units have been built since the beginning of January. The area of one room is about 15 m².

Served as Member Board of Directors, Wael al-Halabi indicated earlier to Enab Baladi that the Abrar Organization is going to complete setting up 200 additional stone-walled rooms within the second phase of the project over the coming months.

For its part, the Turkish Humanitarian Relief Agency (IHH) worked on establishing housing units in the village of Harbnoush near the Syrian-Turkish border,

Each housing unit has two rooms built of stone, with plastic roofs and an area of 24 m².

The cost of each unit reaches 2,200 Turkish Lira (370 USD).

The project, according to an earlier interview with Enab Baladi with the media coordinator of the “IHH,” Mustafa Özbek, aims to build 10,000 housing units.

The project may include the construction of 20,000 or 30,000 units if more support is provided.

Stone housing units (stone-walled tents) are supposed to provide Syrian IDP families safer shelter alternatives, especially amid the adverse weather conditions.

The Syrian Response Coordinators Group (SRCG) announced that the recent severe cold wave caused the death of nine displaced Syrians. Not all the IDP families will be provided with these stone housing units, because of their small numbers compared with the increasing number of the IDPs in the area.


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