Around 25,000 IDPs arrived to the SDF-held Tabqa district in Syria’s northeastern Raqqa province, after fleeing areas held by Islamic State’s (ISIS) militants and the Assad regime.
Local sources confirmed that the newly displaced families came to Tabqa after after escaping ISIS-held Raqqa city and the town of Maskana–seized by the Syrian government 20 days ago.
“The IDPs headed to the outskirts of Tabqa city, and the Tabqa Civilian Council is planning to set up a camp to accommodate the new arrivals,” the local Hawar agency reported on Tuesday.
The Civilian Council of Taqba is currently working on determining a new location for the camp and to secure the basic needs for the camp such as tents, medical and food aid.
The displaced families are now on the outskirts of the city of Tabqa in their vehicles and temporary shelters until the opening of the new camp.
Macer Gifford, a former British volunteer with the YPG and an anti-ISIS campaigner, told ARA News there is more need for humanitarian support to reduce the casualties. “When I was in Manbij, the YPG [a leading faction of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces or SDF] gave as much food as possible to civilians, we didn’t have anything on us,” he said. “I saw thousands of civilians in Manbij asking for food.”
Gifford said he has sent many messages to UK officials and the British government to ask for humanitarian aid for northern Syria. “We got to make civilians feel, when the SDF comes, there is support for them, shelter, and aid,” he said. “But the focus is not on the SDF [in the UK], but mostly on Brexit, and Donald Trump,” he told ARA News.
According to Gifford, there should be a greater Western pressure on Turkey and the Kurds in Iraq to allow aid into Rojava–Northern Syria.
“The aid can be vetted and searched, it’s just to give shelter, and food. There should be unlimited access for aid to the country. And now we also got American and Russian bases and air fields, to which aid can be directly flown into the country in cargo planes and unloaded,” he added.
“There are large refugee camps and thousands of refugees, and they need aid. What seems to be happening is that politics is stopping significant aid to hundreds of thousands of people,” Gifford told ARA News.
Egid Ibrahim, a representative of the Kurdish humanitarian organization the Kurdish Red Crescent, warned in an interview with ARA News that this could result in a disaster and that the local self-administrations of Rojava are already hosting thousands of IDPs and refugees from Mosul, Deir ez-Zor, al-Bab, Shahba areas, Sinjar, Raqqa and Aleppo in several camps.
“We have some organizations but they are not supporting like we want it to be. The UNCHR and UNICEF are supporting some IDPs from Manbij and Raqqa, and some other organizations, which I cannot mention their names. But their capacity is limited, maybe 10 per cent. The Rojava Self-Administration in these areas is trying to support all these IDPs and refugees,” he said.
“It is difficult to receive all these IDPs, especially since there is a siege on Rojava, all the borders are closed, and we have this problem now,” he told ARA News.
“The SDF-led operation is closing in on Raqqa city, so we expect to have more IDPs, and after the liberation we also need support because Raqqa is a big city and has been for 3 to 4 years under Daesh [ISIS]. It needs a lot of aid and help to recover,” Ibrahim stated.