With the support of Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD), the local council of al-Bab in the Euphrates Shield area has built 1500 residential homes for displaced families.
Works started Aug. 8 on a residential complex project in the Euphrates Shield area aimed at accommodating by 2019 around 1,500 families that have been mainly displaced from eastern Ghouta in the countryside of Damascus to camps scattered on the outskirts of al-Bab city.
The construction plan was signed Aug. 6 at the headquarters of the local council in al-Babin the presence of Mohammed Othman, president of the council and a representative of Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD), and representatives of eastern Ghouta traders residing in al-Bab.
Ali Rajab, the director of the services office at the local council of al-Bab, told Al-Monitor, “The council has offered a plot of public property land for the construction of the residential project. The required engineering plans have been finalized and the project will include a mosque and a school, among other services. The support that AFAD will provide for the project will include the construction sector. Merchants of eastern Ghouta based in al-Bab city are also contributing to this project, and we have yet to reach an estimated financial value for the project.”
Rajab said that details of the construction project will be announced soon in order to reveal each party’s contribution.
He noted, “The apartments in the complex will measure 100 square meters [1,076 square foot] each, and each apartment will consist of two bedrooms, a bathroom and a kitchen. The local council — with the support of AFAD — will provide sanitation and roads.”
“This residential project will house families living in al-Sharqiya camp and Waqf al-Diyana camp on the outskirts of al-Bab. The committee in charge of the residential complex is to accept displaced people based on specific conditions as the project aims at sheltering those who are most in need of housing — namely orphans, people with disabilities and families who lost their breadwinner,” Rajab said.
He added, “The project will be implemented with the support of AFAD and traders from eastern Ghouta in cooperation with the local council of the city of al-Bab. Works started Aug. 8 to build this residential complex on a plot of land to the west of al-Bab. The construction work will take a full year and will be completed by Aug. 8, 2019.”
The Euphrates Shield area in the countryside of Aleppo has attracted displaced people who either flocked from eastern Ghouta, the south of Damascus, the countryside of Homs or al-Waer neighborhood in Homs over the past months. Al-Bab is the biggest city in the Euphrates Shield area.
Ali Abdel Jabbar hails from Douma and was displaced months ago to the north of Syria. “I live with my family of five in al-Sharqiya camp near the city of al-Bab in Aleppo. I got a tent, some equipment provided by AFAD, and we receive monthly assistance from other organizations. I do not have a job and I rely on the aid we receive to survive. The living conditions inside the tent are very difficult. We hope to get a unit in the residential complex that was recently announced near al-Bab,” Abdel Jabbar told Al-Monitor.
He added, “I cannot return to eastern Ghouta as I am afraid that the regime forces will arrest me there. I was fighting alongside the Free Syrian Army [FSA] when I was in Ghouta, so I cannot return there. I also believe that stability in the Aleppo countryside is better than returning and risking my life and my family’s in Ghouta. Getting an apartment in the residential complex would be helpful as we would be better off living in a serviced apartment instead of in a tent.”
Abdel Jabbar, who is a carpenter, arrived in al-Bab April 10. He would like to open his own carpentry shop, but he would need a large startup capital that he doesn’t have. “I need almost $2,000 to buy woodworking equipment and open my own shop in al-Bab,” he said.
The Euphrates Shield area is witnessing rapid growth in the construction sector after the region witnessed a noticeable improvement in services. These have been provided by the local councils in the region, which are supported by the Turkish government. Also, the FSA-controlled Euphrates Shield area is relatively safe and stable, which has encouraged the housing construction sector to meet the needs of residents.
Mohammed Omar, the director of the services office at the local council of Azaz in the northern countryside of Aleppo, told Al-Monitor, “The construction sector is witnessing a huge acceleration in its level of activity. This helps meet the housing needs of thousands of Syrians who have been flocking to the area over the past months from across Syria. The area is deemed one of the most secure and stable areas.”