The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has launched a campaign with the Deir ez-Zour Civilian Council to supply vaccines to young children, as well as food and other essential equipment to families, in the town of Basira.
The vaccines will be distributed to young children aged between one month and five years old. Locals say that the vaccines will go some way to easing the health crisis in the town and the wider region, especially given that diseases such as polio have made a resurgence in recent years.
In recent times, locals in Deir ez-Zour Province have suffered from ISIS’ barbaric rule. While the group has been defeated in large swaths of eastern Deir ez-Zour Province, including the provincial capital and city of the same name, small pockets of the militant group still exist.
Furthermore, as the majority Kurdish Syrian Democratic forces (SDF) transfer their fighters to Afrin in northwestern Syria to combat the incursion of the Turkish-backed Syrian National Army, the fight against ISIS has stifled, causing much instability to nearby towns and villages.
For those in Basira, however, life is attempting to return to normal. Located along the intersections of the Euphrates and Khabur Rivers, Basira lies more than 25km from ISIS territory and is both strategic and vital to local economic life.
The town was captured by the SDF in November 2017 and since that time, efforts have been made to restore infrastructure to its pre-ISIS levels. The local water pumping stations, which were responsible for providing water for nearly all the villages northwards all the way to the town of Suwar (located over 40km northeast of Basira), have gradually been put back online, although at a significantly lower operating capacity.
With markets and shops also reopening in Basira, and the campaign undertaken by UNICEF and the Deir ez-Zour Civilian Council, life is slowly returning to normal in the town.