Aid & Development

Café set up by displaced Syrians in an IDP camp south of Hasakah


Internally displaced Syrians that settled in the UNHCR-run Al Sadd IDP camp relive happy memories in a café set up by one of the displaced.

A cafe has been opened by a resident of Al Sadd internally displaced people (IDP) camp south of Hasakah City, in north-eastern Syria. Hasakah is under the de-facto control of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

The cafe has been opened to provide residents of the camp with some semblance of their normal lives that existed before the violence of the current war.

“People love to come here to forget the past and the tragedy that hit us,” said the cafe owner. “They come here to watch football matches and follow up on the news.”

The cafe provides the IDP camp’s residents with an important meeting place for socialising. “We remember old memories we once forgot. We have been reminded of the memories of smoking shisha, sitting in the cafe and hanging out with friends,” said one of the cafe’s new clients. “Things we have forgotten for a long time.”

Many of the residents of Al Sadd Camp fled their homes in Deiz ez-Zour when ISIS militants captured the province in Spring 2014.

The grip that ISIS militants’ held on Deir ez-Zour Province and the city of the same name ended in September 2017 following an operation by the SDF in the east of the province and the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) in the west.

Since then, remaining ISIS militants have been contained by the SDF in a small pocket of territory adjacent to the Iraqi border. In addition to a large pocket of desert territory controlled by militants west of the Euphrates River, which is currently besieged by the SAA.

As a result of the defeat of ISIS in much of the province, some of the camp’s residents are beginning to return to their homes. Rehabilitation and reconstruction projects are operating across the province to enable those who fled to return, with essential energy and water supplies being restored in some towns.

However, for those who cannot yet return, due to safety concerns or because of the destruction of their homes, the opening of a cafe inside the camp provides a welcome respite to life inside the IDP camp.