Endless tragedy caused by Iranian-backed militias | Thousands of displaced people suffer dire living conditions in Al-Ezbah area north of Deir Ezzor • The Syrian Observatory For Human Rights
The Syrian Observatory For Human Rights

Endless tragedy caused by Iranian-backed militias | Thousands of displaced people suffer dire living conditions in Al-Ezbah area north of Deir Ezzor

In 2017, nearly 35,000 families from villages under the control of the regime forces and Iranian-backed militias, such as the villages of Hatla, Al-Salihiya, Murat, Al-Husseinieh, Al-Tabiyah and Mazloum, on the left bank of the Euphrates river, fled to Al-Ezbah area in the northern countryside of Deir Ezzor. Autonomous Administration formed a “local council” and a municipality for the displaced people of these villages.

Iranian-backed militias confiscated most of the civilian homes in these villages on the pretext of not the existence of the owners of these homes. “Al-Baqir Brigade” militia seized civilians’ homes and lands in Al-Husseiniyah village.

The displaced people did not return to their houses again for fear that the militias force them to join their ranks to fight ISIS.

The displaced persons live in Al-Ezbah area in the northern countryside of Deir Ezzor in makeshift centres in the desert, each of which hosts dozens of families. All of these centres suffer the lack of the most basic essentials, dire living conditions, the inaction and apathy by official concerned authorities.

The displaced people are mired in dire living conditions and suffer from a lack of schooling and poor education, poor health services.

SOHR activists have reported that the number of primary school students is nearly 15,000 students. While, the area lacks middle and high schools, which has led many families to drop their children out of school and make them work.

Moreover, the displaced people also suffer from limited access to drinking water as the Euphrates river is nearly 15 kilometres away from Al-Ezbah area. The people are forced to buy water from water tankers. The price of a barrel of water is nearly 3,000 SYP. The water comes directly from the Euphrates river without any sterilisation or purification.

According to some displaced people, two years earlier, several humanitarian organisations visited Al-Ezbah area to provide people with sterile and filtered water, but till now there is no response or aid. The organisations came and made studies only.

The drinking water dilemma is one of the most severe crises experienced by the displaced people in Al-Ezbah area as the closest water station to feeding the area with water was in Jadid Al-Akidat area, but the water station has been stolen over the past years by ISIS.

In his testimony to SOHR, a 40-year-old man known by his initials as A. A’ said that for four years he has been displaced in Al-Ezbah area as regime forces and Iranian-backed militias had captured the above-forementioned villages.

The man added, “we suffer from lack of water education for children, some of whom were five years old, today they are ten years old, and are not literate.”

During the winter, displaced families suffer as rainwater infiltrates into their mud houses and suffer from a lack of diesel for heating.

Speaking to SOHR, a displaced man from Al-Salyhiyah village known by his initials as S. Sh. says that there is only one dispensary and limited to simple inspections and check-ups and first aid, there are no medicines and no organisation provides support to the dispensary.

The man added that we cannot return to our homes, which are only two “kilometres” away from us, due to the presence of a base and military barracks of the regime and Russian forces in the middle of the main street in Al-Salihiyah village.

It is worth noting that thousands of displaced persons who live in Deir Ezzor and countryside are mired in compelling circumstances due to the scarcity of humanitarian assistance, the lack of job opportunities, the high prices and the economic collapse, amid the failure of the concerned authorities to fulfil their duties.