IDPs Camps in Syria Are Forsaken Tragedies
Around 8,500 individuals were forced to leave their homes, villages, and cities at the end of April 2018, as waves of the forcibly displaced started fleeing the towns of southern Damascus (Babbila, Yalda, Beit Sahm, and al Yarmouk Camp) heading for north Syria in accordance with evacuation agreements that are in violation of the international human rights law. These agreements were struck after the residents had endured the suffocating siege imposed by Syrian regime forces on their areas for approximately five years. On the other hand, al Yarmouk Camp saw a Syrian-Russian offensive that was launched on April 19, 2018, and lasted for about a month, during which large numbers of houses and shops were destroyed as hundreds of residents were forced to flee al Yarmouk Camp to Babbila and Yalda towns, and then flee again along with the large numbers of Babbila’s and Yalda’s families to north Syria, while those who opted to stay had to suffer grave indignities that we detailed in our recent reports on forced displacement.
Our estimations suggest that approximately 5,000 of those IDPs settled in the armed opposition-held Deir Ballout Camp in northern suburbs of Aleppo. In light of the overwhelming influx of IDPs from different areas in Syria towards the camps in the north, in addition to the non-existence of new camps or any areas that they could go to, the management of those camps found themselves between two very difficult choices – either rejecting any newcomers, since these camps have already exceeded their maximum capacity, or leave people with no choice but to sleep in the open.
According to many of those camps’ residents who spoke to SNHR about disastrous living conditions, these camps lack the most basic services, such as water, restrooms, and medical care, not to mention the irregular and scarce food aids delivered to those camps. What made matters even worse is the fact that most IDPs are children and women, including pregnant women, in addition to a number of wounded people who were injured in the shelling and aerial bombardment on their hometowns by Russian and Syrian regime forces, as those require special medical care.