Located in the southwest countryside of Daraa Province, the Yarmouk basin has seen the displacement many civilians due to the tyranny of Jaish Khalid Ibn al-Walid, an affiliate of ISIS.
In early 2017, the group went on the offensive in the province, capturing a number of towns and displacing as many as 4000.
ISIS established themselves in sporadic places around Syria during their blitz across Iraq and Syria in 2014. Since then, the group has lost many of its footholds but retains a number of small enclaves in Damascus, the Lebanese border and, western Daraa where militants maintained their positioning. Those displaced from the Yarmouk region the militants control have fled to the farms and derelict buildings across the countryside.
Many are suffering, they live in bare brick housing with broken or do doors, which is made only barely liveable by the carpets, pillows and other home comforts that are placed in and around their buildings. There is also a severe shortage of food, water and medical supplies which increases the suffering of the young, disabled and elderly. Living in these farms also means they are exposed to the elements and wild life which is a danger to the youth who spend their days outdoors helping parents or playing. But for many of the displaced, these places are now home, and are better than living under the oppressive rule of the militants.
One mother explains of her suffering saying, “we do not have mattresses or anything. There are lots of snakes and scorpions. We beg for water. My 60-year-old husband does not work, and my disabled son needs milk and some stuff. We live in a windowless, muddy room”.
Various rebel groups in Daraa have tried to dislodge ISIS from the region but failed. Not knowing what will befall them or if they will return back home, the only thing these newly displaced refugees can do is wait.