As more civilians escape Islamic State (ISIS) militants the horror stories coming out of city of Raqqa increase.
The militants are set on causing as much pain and suffering to the civilians still under their control, leaving the people of Raqqa beset with angst. A mother tells her story and the stories of the mothers who have passed, saying that “we were starving, our children migrated and the others were taken and slaughtered. They [ISIS] came to my neighbour’s house when his son was abroad. They forced him out and took his house. Why? If they practiced Islam correctly, they would not have done this.”
Having escaped, she finds herself in a United Nations Internally Displaced Peoples camp alone without her children. This mother’s suffering is tragic but not unusual. Her situation is exacerbated by the miserable conditions in the camps. As one UN camp volunteer states, “we need many things. Bathrooms are sparse, women’s infections are widespread and young children are also infected. We lack water and hygiene is poor”.
There is still a long way to go to fix conditions at the camp and an even longer and more unpredictable path to resettlement. The positive is that ISIS are, for now, no longer a threat. The people here are hurting but getting better with hopes to return home.