SUWAYDA, Syria (North Press) – Displaced families in Suwayda governorate in Syria’s south said that their living conditions deteriorated in the shadow of the lack of humanitarian aid, as they were unable to return to the areas from which they were displaced.
Thousands of displaced from Damascus villages, Quneitra, and Daraa in the south headed for Suwayda during the Syrian crises.
According to Syrian Red Crescent statistics, about 800 families are displaced and reside in Tala'a camp in Rassas village, 15 km south of Suwayda.
An aid basket every three months
A father of eight, displaced from Aleppo, said that aid has decreased. “Previously, every family received a food basket every month, a year ago this became a basket every three months. The basket would not last even for the first ten days of the month.”
“The price of one kilo of sugar is 1,100 Syrian pounds, and a bag of diapers has doubled. I am a construction worker and my work has nearly stopped, so how could I secure my family's needs?” he added.
Um Ahmad, who was displaced from Aleppo with her family and her grandchildren, said it was rare for her family to receive aid.
“My husband is 70 and has heart disease, life has become hard and I cannot secure my family's needs,” she added.
Aid is determined by UNHCR
The Syrian Red Crescent Organization attributed the decrease of support to the reduction of aid offered by donors and the UNHCR based in Suwayda city.
Abdi Atrash, head of the Syrian Red Crescent in Suwayda, told North Press that aid has decreased about 35% in the last three years due to the UN.
"We offer them services and care according to the UN organization program in cooperation with the Syrian Refugee Commission," he said.
Atrash pointed out the role of political consideration in dealing with the Syrian government and decreasing the aid, which increased the suffering of the displaced and those with limited income in Suwayda amid the economic deterioration.
Six years of displacement
Suwayda housed hundreds of families from Rif-Dimashq, Daraa, Quneitra, Aleppo and its villages due to battles there between 2012-2018. Some of those families arrived to Suwayda with the help of smugglers, who extorted large amounts of money from the displaced.
Abu Mahmud, displaced from Arbin in Rif-Dimashq, said that he escaped with his wife and three children to Suwayda in 2014, for $300 per person.
According to the Syrian Red Crescent, most Syrians who were displaced between 2012-2018 were from Daraa, due to clashes that took place between Syrian government and armed opposition groups there. Others were from the towns of Arbin, Saqba, Doma, and Maliha in Rif-Dimashq.
From 2014 to 2016, Suwayda experienced a second wave of displacement from people from the west of Rif-Dimashq due to military operations which took place between Syrian forces and opposition groups stationed in Daraya and Qalamon Gharbi. This was in addition to displaced which came from the eastern Daraa countryside, Quneitra countryside, and the north and east of the Aleppo countryside.
Displacement to Suwayda continued until 2018, but in small numbers. Suwayda had several refugee centers, where it received the three waves of displacement between 2012 and 2018, according to Syrian Red Crescent statistics.
The Directorate of Social Affairs and Labor in Suwayda, and the Syrian Red Crescent, recorded 35,000 displaced families who came from Daraa, Rif-Dimashq, Quneitra, and a smaller percentage from Aleppo and Deir Ez-Zor.
Abdi Atrash clarified that the Red Crescent registered 200,000 displaced who were distributed among four refugee centers in Tala'a camp and Qarya, Ora, and Shahba.
IDPs in Suwayda returned to their areas in Daraa city and other regions after the settlement agreement and the end of the clashes between Syrian forces and opposition groups in some areas of Syria in 2018.