المرصد السوري لحقوق الانسان
The Syrian Observatory For Human Rights

Northern Syria | Poor living conditions force people to commit suicides, and SOHR highlights this phenomenon

Different areas in northern Syria have witnessed a marked increase in the number of suicides, especially after the mass displacement of people that began with the start of military operations by regime forces and supporting militias in rural Hama, Aleppo and Idlib in early 2019.

The causes for suicide are many, including mental illnesses, poor living conditions and others.

A media activist in Idlib known by his initials as “M.A.” speaks to SOHR “several suicides occurred in the displacement camps scattered in the north of Syria, at a rate of at least one case every two months, which equals to 10 to 15 cases since the beginning of 2019, mostly as a result of the deterioration of the living conditions.”

The media activist “M.A.” added “sometimes suicides are caused by disturbances and psychological pressures, and these cases are distributed in different areas of the north of Syria, such as areas controlled by the Turkish-backed “National Army” factions, Idlib areas and its countryside which is under the control of the HTS and other factions.”

The activist pointed out that there are no accurate official statistics on the number of suicides, or the real causes of each suicide incident. However, suicide incidents have increased recently.

The media activist concluded “The region may witness a great increase in suicides if the living conditions of the population of northern Syria continue to worsen, particularly in displacement camps.”

A psychiatrist known by his initials as “M.A” speaks to SOHR: “suicide is considered one of the most serious consequences of mental diseases. It indicts that the person’s condition reaches an advanced stage of mental disorders and therefore decides to commit suicide, without taking into account the consequences of suicide.

He added “there are some signs that may appears before a person committing suicide, most notably social isolation and keeping a distance from family and friends, and asking certain questions about the reasons to stay alive, or even warning family members that they will die soon and losing the ability to eat and sleep. However, these signs may not necessarily appear.

The psychiatrist confirmed that “The most common reason for suicide in northern Syria is the severe poverty suffered by the majority of the population, besides other reasons such as family disintegration due to the death of relatives, displacement or detention, as a result of the prolonged period of the war in Syria, which has exceeded 10 years. For the women, there are also other causes, such as persecution, violence, etc.

Dr. “M.A.” ended his testimony stressing “the need to work seriously by the concerned authorities in order to alleviate or eliminate this dangerous phenomenon, such as improving the living conditions, especially in displacement camps, and intensifying efforts to raise awareness by some competent organizations, or providing job opportunities to young people and unemployed men.”

The latest suicide incident was on March 8 in Idlib, where a young man shot himself. The victim was a displaced in the “Tal al-Karama” camp in the northern Idlib countryside. The young man named Mahmoud al-Fitrawi and hails from the town of Kafrnabouda in northern Hama countryside, aged 38 years. The victim was married and has children, and was working as electronic devices repairman, and was suffering from difficult living and psychological conditions, according to local sources close to him.

The man had also suffered for several years from epileptic fits and mental disorders that were making him loose control of himself and unconscious. He underwent medical treatment for several times, but in vain.

Sources close to the victim have also confirmed that the camp lacks the minimum necessities of life, heating materials and a lack of support from humanitarian organizations.

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