Thousands of people fleeing the military conflict in the north of Syria are settling in camps, such as Washokani, that are struggling to cope with the intake.
Thousands of people from the region encompassing areas between Tal Abyad and Ras al-Ayn have been displaced from their homes as a result of the Turkish-backed military offensive in the region. Many of these displaced people are stranded in camps that currently do not have the capacity to take in more people. One of these camps is in Washokani.
Those settled in the Washokani camp for IDPs speak of a severe lack of humanitarian aid and basic necessities, including heating materials for the harsh winter:
“We are women and children, where are we supposed to go? They give us a blanket or two for every 10 people. The weather is cold and we have children. The conditions we are living in are very difficult”, expressed Mahmoud al-Barho al-Alaiwi, a displaced person in Washokani.
As well as a lack of food:
“Every month, they provide us with rice, bulgur, lentils, and oil. This monthly aid is not enough for a seven-member family. They give each person two loaves of bread”, stated Khadija al-Remo, a woman displaced from Ras al-Ayn.
Human rights activists who have visited the camp have deemed the forced expulsion of peaceful civilians and the lack of help allocated to the displaced people in Washokani thereafter as human rights violations.
The Washokani camp, located around 12 kilometres west of Haskah in north-eastern Syria, was established in November to accommodate the wave of people who had been displaced from the region around Tal Abyad and Ras al-Ayn, the location of the so-called “safe-zone” formed by Turkey and its allied Syrian rebel forces.
The Autonomous Administration has been working to get aid to reach the camp. Nevertheless, international organisations have thus far neglected the situation of IDPs at Washokani, which has been a matter of concern for the regional authorities, whose capacity to allocate aid itself is limited.