المرصد السوري لحقوق الانسان
The Syrian Observatory For Human Rights

Tens of informal camps in Idlib countryside are outside the scope of relief organizations

The term “informal camps” is still related to Idlib countryside, in conjunction with the continued aerial and ground shelling on the “de-escalation” zone, which is accompanied by displacement movement towards the Syrian North.

Thus, tens of small informal camps have recently spread, with no organizations or associations to care for them, after being established by displaced people at their own expense and by what they could provide, to be their only refuge, after tents failed to accommodate them, in the shadow of the high price of renting a house, which became beyond the displaced people’s ability.

These scattered tents do not neither belong to the Department of the Displaced People Affairs of the Salvation Government, the humanitarian organizations operating in the Syrian North, nor any other formal body.

As a result, people suffer there from dire humanitarian conditions, in conjunction with the lack of services and care and the acute shortage of basic requirements for the displaced people, in addition to the absence of administration arrangement of these camps.

The number of such camps are increasing a day after another, with no specific figure describes their amount, where the informal camps are scattered in the vicinity of Salqin, Harem, Kafr Takharim, Armanaz, as well as other areas in Jisr Al-Shughur countryside , Darkush and Sahl Al-Ruj.

In his testimony to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, one of the officials of Al-Rashid Camp which is located at the outskirts of Kafr Takharim north of Idlib, and which accommodates people displaced from Jabal Shashaboo in the western countryside of Hama, talked about the poor living and service conditions in the camp.

“because of the urgent need to accommodate tens of families that displaced from Jabal Shashaboo, and the inability of major camps to receive more people, the displaced people established this small camp at the southern outskirts of Kafr Takharim town, adjacent Armanaz town, nearly 150 families live in the camp at the present time, the camp has not received any kind of assistance from any organization, it was established voluntarily and with the hands of a team of displaced people who collected money to buy the land where of the camp were planned to be established, then the phase of setting up tents, that every one could get them in different ways, some were able to got their tent from the Local Council, some could buy them, and some set up rudimentary tent by using blankets and cloth, while some families are still there in the open with no tents, we rose many appeals to the Department of the Displaced People Affairs to provide assistance to the camp, but to no avail, under the pretext of not being within the major gatherings that belong to the department” said the source.

“At the same time, the humanitarian organization provide assistance via the Department of the Displaced People Affairs only, thus, the camp and many other similar camps lack service and health care and the inhabitants of these camps suffer from acute shortage of food and potable water, we appeal to all humanitarian organization to provide support for the camp and all informal camps scattered in the north of Idlib, without considering being within the list of camps belong to the Department of the Displaced People Affairs or not” the source added.

For his part, a media activist from the southern countryside of Idlib and lives currently in the north of Idlib, talked about these camps and the sufferings of people there.

He said in his testimony to SOHR “it is unfair to distinguish between the small informal camps and the major camps, everybody in these camps are displaced people with the same conditions and sufferings, so it is unfair to provide support for specific group of these displaced people and to leave others under the pretext of not being within the major gatherings, like in Atma, Deir Hassan, Harem, Salqin, Al-Zouf and others, those -in the informal camps- met many obstacles which prevented them from being in such major gatherings, so they established these camps to escape from the high prices of renting houses, they had no other choices, these camps also suffer from the lack of arrangement, where someone is assigned to be in charge of the camp, but he finds himself powerless to secure any thing for his camp’s inhabitants.”

“Then comes the dilemma of providing tents for the new arrivals, it is too difficult because of the high price of tents which reached nearly 150 USD for a single tent, at the same time, the relevant authorities and humanitarian organizations refuses to set up these tents or support them, it is necessary to draw attention to these camps, which are considered worse than the camps under the supervision of the Department of the Displaced People Affairs, in order to secure the means of livelihood, and support them, so that the families could stay in them and will not be obliged to return to the areas of shelling and escalations, as a result of the poor material and living conditions there” added the source.

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