Local families in al-Bab in northern Syria come together to discuss issues affecting the city. The gathering aims to be a link between civilians and elites in al-Bab.
Locals from al-Bab in northern Syria have instigated a new approach to dealing with issues in the city. Under the banner, “The Gathering of Al-Bab Families,” a representative from every family in the city came together to discuss living conditions, security and the current provision of services.
The aim of the gathering, which featured approximately 100 local people, is to reduce the barriers between the elites and the people and act as a supervisory authority. A further aim is to create a more open society where issues can be expressed and dealt with in a constructive manner.
“If criticism is defamatory and offensive, it is rejected. But if its constructive criticism, then it must be accepted by any official, whether he is a security, military, or service official,” said Mohammed Afoura, a representative of the Afoura family. “The official must be aware of everything that is going on. This means that the gathering is not against anyone and does not have any ideology. It is a civil gathering to raise the income of citizens in this area.”
The gathering also discussed matters of transparency, corruption, delineating control over civil and military affairs, and favouritism, which have spread at points in al-Bab in recent times, and which the representatives admit harm a well functioning society.
The gathering of locals from al-Bab is a positive development in a city that represents a key nexus point in northern Syria. Situated in territory held by the Turkish-backed Syrian National Army (SNA), al-Bab is located on the border with Syrian army-held territory to the south and Kurdish-held territory to the east and west. The city finds itself between the two major cities of Manbij (to the east) and Aleppo (to the west).