Exploiting their dire living conditions in al-Rukban camp | IRGC affiliates buy houses and plots of land from Palmyra displaced people • The Syrian Observatory For Human Rights

Exploiting their dire living conditions in al-Rukban camp | IRGC affiliates buy houses and plots of land from Palmyra displaced people

Iranian-backed militias and their affiliates continue strengthening the presence in the areas under “symbolic” control of the Syrian regime throughout Syria through purchases of real estate in Rif Dimashq, Deir Ezzor, Aleppo and other areas across Syria.


In this context, Syrian Observatory activists say that individuals working for the Iranian-backed militias in Palmyra city in Homs countryside started recently to communicate with people from the city, who have been displaced to al-Rukban camp in the Syrian desert near the Syria-Iraq-Jordan border triangle, for buying their real estate.


According to SOHR sources, two men known as Hassan al-Aziz and Abboud al-Amin from Palmyra and work for the Iranian-backed militias are tasked to communicate with displaced people from Palmyra living in al-Rukban camp with the aim to persuade them to sell their properties for the Iranian-backed militias. One of these two men negotiates for houses, while the other negotiates for farmlands, exploiting the dire living conditions of the displaced people in al-Rukban camp, especially since most of the camp’s inhabitants cannot return to their areas at the recent time, as they are prosecuted by the regime security service.


SOHR sources have also reported that many of the people of Palmyra and living in al-Rukban camp started to sell their real estate to Iranian-backed militias affiliates.


On October 5, Observatory sources reported that nearly 11,000 displaced Syrian civilians were suffering from disastrous situation in al-Rukban camp near the Syria-Iraq-Jordan border triangle in light of the chronic crises, dire living conditions and poor medical services. Meanwhile, the children in the camp were deprived of their basic rights, the right of education in particular, as there were no schools or effective education centres in the camp. Accordingly, most the camp’s children were illiterate and their tasks were confined to collecting flammable objects and leftovers in order to be used for getting fire for cooking instead of gas, especially with the acute shortage of gas and its high price, if found.


On the other hand, women in the camp found themselves forced to work, attempting to secure the minimum levels of basic livelihood for their families, so some women made a career of doing laundry for some of the camp’s inhabitants in return for a little money.


Furthermore, the camp’s inhabitants were suffering from alarming prevalence of insects, particularly mosquitoes, due to the large number of cesspits in the camp, most of which left uncovered. In addition, all goods and foodstuffs smuggled from regime-held areas were sold in the camp for high prices unaffordable for many.


Sadly, all of these crises were met with ongoing inaction by the international community which seemed indifferent with the sufferings of the camp’s inhabitants who were besieged by the Syrian regime and its Russian ally


On September 17, SOHR activists reported that residents from Palmyra living now in al-Rukban camp near the Syria-Jordan border took part in a demonstration demanding approval to their asylum requests by the European Union.


The demonstrators raised banners with slogans written on them read “We demand asylum in any European countries”.


The demonstrators also filed a directed message to the Secretary-General of the UN and to the Presidency of the European Union, which read “Topic: application for mass asylum by the residents displaced from Palmyra and surrounding areas to al-Rukban camp.


Subject: Al-Rukban residents and the international community are in a complicated situation regarding the situation of the residents of al-Rukban camp, where the global and national classification of situations similar to the situation of al-Rukban camp’s residents is called “internally displaced”. However, we in fact escaped from a country occupied by countries that legally occupied Syria at orders by a regime that abused its power, killed and displaced its people and committed crimes against humanity. Moreover, the regime, with support by Russia and Iran, intentionally changed the demographics of most Syrian areas especially the historic city of Palmyra, where the regime deliberately emptied Palmyra of its indigenous inhabitants and settled Iranian-backed and sectarian militias. The regime also exploited the people’s needs and forced them to leave by and took over their houses and farms terrorizing them and offering incentives. We know that the international laws have never dealt with such cases, the terms of these laws therefore cannot be relied on to provide a help to Palmyra residents who live in al-Rukban camp. However, we know that when there is an international will, the humanitarian situation takes priority over the legal situation, so we appeal to you to discuss our demands humanly, and to approve for giving Palmyra residents who live in al-Rukban camp the right of humane asylum to countries of the European Union. The number of asylum seekers is 200 families who were forced to flee to al-Rukban camp for fear of wars, being abused and out of concern for their safety and lives. Of course, you are aware of the reports by Amnesty International which stated that the situation in Syria is still unsafe for the return of refugees.


We hope that our request will be approved and discussed seriously as soon as possible.

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