People with disabilities in northeast Syria face neglect, AANES takes no action

People with disabilities in northeastern Syria suffer from marginalization and neglect - 2024 (Rojava FM)

People with disabilities in northeastern Syria suffer from marginalization and neglect - 2024 (Rojava FM)


Individuals with disabilities in the regions of northeastern Syria face neglect in several crucial aspects such as education, employment, and health.

The residents of the region have not observed the application of the outcomes of the first conference for people with disabilities at the level of northern and eastern Syria, organized by the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES) in October 2023.

The suffering of people with disabilities is exacerbated by the scarcity of associations that follow up on their affairs, such as Ghadir al-Othman (12 years old), a resident of al-Hamra village in the countryside of al-Hasakah governorate.

Ghadir is disabled due to a medical error after receiving an injection when he was six years old, which caused weakness in his left foot, making it difficult for him to walk today.

Mohammed al-Othman, the child’s father, told Enab Baladi that his son was victim to a medical error during his visit to a clinic in Tal Tamr six years ago, where he was being treated for his illness, but the situation worsened significantly, and he began suffering from a foot disability that requires medical treatment and physiotherapy sessions.

The family faces significant financial challenges due to the costs of lengthy treatment sessions, as Ghadir needs four sessions per week, costing up to 40,000 Syrian pounds per session.

Ghadir’s father points out that the situation has become difficult for the family, especially after their move to al-Talae’ camp near the city of al-Hasakah three years ago, and he is still tirelessly searching for ways to treat his son.

30,000 people with disabilities

The difficulty lies in the absence of support from charitable entities or organizations to assist children with disabilities in the region.

In October 2023, the spokesperson for the Nûdem organization for people with disabilities, Dafian Mahmoud, told the local ANF website that there are more than 30,000 people with disabilities in the regions of northeastern Syria.

Enab Baladi attempted to contact the organization to clarify the situation of people with disabilities in the region, as it is the only one specialized in working with this community segment in the region, but it declined to comment.

While the Red Crescent, affiliated with AANES, provides prostheses for people with disabilities from the ranks of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), other organizations offer limited support to some cases.

Plans and outputs on paper

The young man, Majid Ibrahim Mohammed (16 years old), sits in front of his tent in the Newroz camp in the city of al-Malikiyah, along with his brothers, and watches the rain falling sadly.

Majid hails from the village of Tell Arqam in the countryside of Ras al-Ain in al-Hasakah governorate.

The rain prevents Majid from wandering among the tents due to the weakness of his wheelchair, and he has been suffering from mental atrophy since he was a few months old.

Majid’s mother, Yazie Azou Hamdou, tells the story of her son and his journey with the disease. He suffered from high fever when he was seven months old.

The injury led to cerebral palsy, and he received treatment in Aleppo for years, without achieving the hoped-for improvement.

When Majid was ten years old, the family moved to Newroz camp in al-Malikiyah city, and his treatment journey was halted due to despair of improvement in his condition, but the mother did not lose hope and tried to provide the necessary support and care for him.

Majid’s father is a daily wage worker, and the family is struggling financially, and the rains and difficult conditions prevent him from working regularly, making it more difficult to meet Majid’s needs, which require training sessions and psychological and medical treatment.

Majid’s mother wishes to provide a new wheelchair that would allow her to take him to the market and carry out daily tasks, and she worries about his future and the lack of necessary medical and rehabilitative services for him in the camp.

But, as she told Enab Baladi, she does not want to rely on relief organizations and insists on providing support and care for her son with the assistance of family and neighbors in the camp.

In October 2023, the Social Affairs and Labor Authority within AANES held the first conference for people with disabilities at the level of northern and eastern Syria, which ended with several outputs that have not been implemented.

Enab Baladi contacted the authority to get details about the number of affected individuals in the northeastern regions of Syria and its actions in this regard but did not receive a response.

The latest report by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in 2022 states that 28% of Syrians are people with disabilities.

In a report by the office in 2020, it mentioned that 36% of Syrian displaced persons are people with disabilities, originating from areas that witnessed intense bombing by the regime forces and their Russian ally, and they are distributed in northeastern and northwestern Syria.

Disability rates in the regions under AANES control amount to 37% of the total injuries in Syria, according to a report by the United Nations Humanitarian Needs Assessment Programme (HNAP) in 2021.

Approximately 1.5 million Syrians suffer from permanent disabilities resulting from the conflict, including 86,000 individuals whose injuries led to amputations, according to a report published by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2017.


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