The harsh realities of life in the Ain Issa camp near Raqqa

Civilians in the Ain Issa camp, which is located 50km north of Raqqa, have bemoaned their living conditions and are calling for more aid after fleeing from ISIS.

Many of the displaced arrive to the camp with no money or belongings, while aid organisations are only able to provide limited assistance due to funding and access issues, as well as the general scale of displacement both from Raqqa and across Syria. The effects of the hot weather, which even in September can reach close to 40 degrees celsius, is further compounding the suffering of those displaced.

One man interviewed in the camp mentions how aid deliveries are usually sporadic, and provide limited amounts and kinds of aid. “Aid is very limited, even when it comes to the simplest things like water. We lack food as you can see,” said the man. “A while ago, they gave us a box containing some aid and 6 bottles of oil. Yesterday, for example, they distributed some sweets called halwa and people fought over them.”

The treacherous conditions in the Ain Issa camp, however, is not unique. Across Syria, particularly in the country’s north and east, displaced civilians have slammed their living conditions. In Syria’s northern Hasakah Province, perilous conditions have been reported in the Rajm al-Sulaibi, al-Hol (or al-Hawl), al-Sadd and Mabrouha camps, with some activists labelling these camps as the ‘camps of death’.

Further south near the Jordan-Syria-Iraq triangle, the Rukban camp, which holds 860,000 IDPs, is also the site of troubling conditions, not least as it is the occasional target of ISIS militants who attempt to inflict even more misery on the displaced civilian population. In May this year, an explosion killed four and wounded several others after being detonated in the Rukban camp.

In camps around Raqqa, the displaced are believed to number close to 200,000 people. However, with reports indicating that the Syrian Democratic Forces, who are fighting ISIS inside the city, have now gained control of close to 90% of the city, the hope for the displaced is that they will be able to return to their homes.