SHOR eyewitness | Makeshift camps in Idlib and Latakia countryside suffer tragic conditions and marginalisation by humanitarian organisations and concerned bodies
The displaced Syrians in the makeshift camps that are located in Latakia countryside and Darkoush and Jisr Al-Shughour areas in west Idlib countryside have been enduring tragic conditions due to the severe decrease of temperature and snowfall that hit those areas doubling the sufferings of families whose tents have been damaged amid shortage of heating materials and other several basic essentials.
Several makeshift camps spread in areas in Latakia countryside and west Idlib countryside like Jisr Al-Shoughour and Darhoush, including the camps in “Hamam Al-Sheikh Essa.” Some of those tents have been damaged heavily by the snowstorm while its inhabitants suffer from the cold weather conditions and marginalisation by the humanitarian organizations and concerned bodies.
In testimony to SOHR, an official for tents in “Hamam Al-Sheikh Essa” area who is known by his initials as “A.M.” told SOHR that the region has several small complexes of tents, naming “Al-Hamam” and “Al-Aramel” camps as the most important ones. Al-Hamam camp houses 91 displaced families from the countryside of south Idlib countryside and north Hama. It has been damaged due to snowfalls that caused the collapse of several tents that were partially fixed by the displaced families.
He added that “Al-Aramel camp” houses nearly 70 families and has been also damaged in the snowfall noting that nearly 15 tents have been collapsed on heads of the families. Meanwhile the harsh cold weather swept the camps in west Idlib countryside and the inhabitants were worried most about snowstorm because most of tents are in poor conditions. Those fragile tents have not been changed since their establishment eight years ago.
A. M. points out that the families now are in dire need for support, especially heating materials. They also need to get new tents, and to receive food and medicine because there is a state of marginalisation in the region by the organisations and the concerned bodies as no organisation has provided support to the displaced families since the beginning of the crisis of harsh weather.
He explains that the harsh snowstorm has caused damage to the tents pillars and also blocked the roads while the displaced people faced difficulties to go out to buy basic essentials. The bad weather also caused fall of the mountain rocks near “Al-Aramel” tent beside other material damages.
“Till now the displaced families in the tents helplessly are calling on the humanitarian organisations and the concerned bodies to provide immediate support,” said A. M.
Similar to “Hamam Al-Sheikh Essa”, other tents of “Al-Zouf” and “Kharbat Al-Jouz” in west Jisr Al-Shoughour city also suffer bad conditions as they lack assistance amid harsh weather. An activist known by his initials as A. H. who lives in one of Al-Zouf tents told SOHR sources that “the two areas of “Al-Zouf” and “Kharbat Al-Jouz” house nearly 80 tents that host nearly 50,000 displaced people, who suffered during the snowfall that hit the region and damaged large part of the tents.”
He adds that most of the families were displaced more than seven years ago and suffer extreme poverty and worsening living conditions that were doubled in the winter, noting that most of the camps need immediate change and the inhabitants need heating material, food and more essentials.
He stresses that the humanitarian organisation barely provided aid, adding that there is no real initiative to improve the displaced people conditions inside the “Al-Zouf” and “Kharbat Al-Jouz” tents.
He highlights that 10-30 tents were damaged since the beginning of the snowstorm that hit the region, adding that only some individual initiatives and some associations have attempted to provide simple commodities which were not enough for the large number of displaced people.
Also “Bedama” tent near Jisr Al-Shoughour that houses nearly 150 families has seen similar but partial damage during the snowfall. According to “M. A.”, one of the camp inhabitants, told SOHR that several tents were damaged in the snowstorm that forced the displaced families to go out in search for a shelter because fixing the tents took long hours.
He adds that the tent that is inhabited by displaced people from Latakia, Idlib and Hama countryside need to be re-established. He lamented that “humanitarian organisations have not taken their role to rescue the displaced families or even provide them with essentials.”
According to M. A., humanitarian organisations just aided with “Civil defence” teams who contributed in fixing the tents and provided some aids.
He stresses that the displaced families need many essentials like food, blankets, heating materials, and the tents need to be replaced with better and strong ones with water buffers, because the evacuation of families and sending them back to their houses seem far-reached hope.
There are other tents in different areas in Jisr Al-Shoughour region in west Idlib countryside: “Ain Al-Bayda”, “Khourmash”, and “Al-Salatah” that are suffering bad living conditions like lack of heating materials and food commodities, and indifference of humanitarian organisations that work in north Syria.
The makeshift camps in north Syria suffer since early 2022 difficult conditions amid hard weather, snowstorm and rainfall as dozens of tents have become unsuitable for livings, while the inhabitants are still suffering cold weather and lack of aid amid hiking prices of the heating material and most of the basic food commodities and fuels.