The Escape journey of civilians from Deir Ezzor

Since the Islamic state dominated some of the Syrian cities it keeps trying to obliterate the Features between what is civilian and what is martial using the civilian populations as human shields to hide behind and among them. The Islamic state could do anything to prevent those civilians from getting out of the areas under the domination of it.
A lot of civilians in Syria and especially in Deir Ezzor city went through a long journey looking for safe areas to protect them from the threats around them starting with the Islamic state and ending with the Multilateral bombardment on all the areas of Deir Ezzor province.

The civilians  suffering is different At each destination

The first destination – As-Suwayda in the Further south of Syria
Some civilians are heading to Damascus because their relatives are there or to resume their jobs in the government sector. whereas a resource of JFL stated that the Security organs of the Syrian regime are holding the families coming from Deir Ezzor toward Damascus in the vanguards camp of As-Suwayda, the same resource added that the vanguards camp is like a detention center, dozens of families are prevented from getting out of the camp and the security elements don’t give the people any food or medicine for free but they sell those things to the Detainees at very high prices.

The second destination – Al-Hasakah 
the Eastern destination of the Fugitives from Deir Ezzor is the Neighboring Al-Hasakah Governorate In spite of the landmines planted by the Islamic state to prevent the civilians from leaving the areas under the domination of it or to frustrate the progress of the people’s protection units.

The destinations of northern Syria – idlib and turkey

“the identities of our neighbors’ helped us to get out of Deir Ezzor”
The Islamic state prevent women from leaving the regions under the control of it  On their own without a companion man with them,( H.W) and she is a girl from Deir Ezzor says describing her escape journey from the ‘islamic state’ areas in late 2015 without a companion man with her : “we were a family of 5 members me, my mother and my three sisters, my father and my brother had escaped a while back because one of the Islamic state members from our city Al-Mayadin told them that they have to leave quickly because their names been mentioned more than once in the Investigations with the current detainees by the Islamic state”, (H.W) continued : “the Escape process without a companion man seemed impossible to us until a Taxi driver helped us and brought us new identities to carry them with us on our family journey to Al-Raqqah city, he told us to say that when they ask us questions at the checkpoints of the Islamic state”

(H.W)added: “After wearing the Burqa and the ISIS shield we moved from AL-Mayadin at noon heading toward Al-Raqqah and after that to Manbij, that was the best time to leave so we arrive the areas of the FREE Army in Idlib by nightfall, As the bus driver told us-our new father according to the new identities-the most difficult checkpoint was in Madan which checked and read the identities pretty well, the driver told him: “this is my family and we are going to our uncle funeral in Manbij”

She added: “after that the journey was normal until we arrived to Ahras and it is the borderline between the Islamic state and the Free Army areas, we were exhausted After 10 hours of travelling, after that we knew that we have to walk for two hours-on our Tiptoes if we could-so we don’t make any noise and get caught because of that, the following hours were so tough, we started walking around 3 in the morning, one of the families with us lost one of the kids during the journey which took more than 3 hours, the crossing zones were too rugged and because of that we took ten a minutes rest every hour and we keep walking after that, we knew that everyone escapes at the morning prayer time when the Islamic state guards switch their shifts.

After we reached Ahras we heard an explosion sound and the next day we knew that the explosion was because of a landmine, it blew up on a family that didn’t come from the road we took, we realized that the Islamic state is laying landmines to prevent the civilians from running away out of the areas under the domination of it, we were trying to Convince ourselves that it is a lie and there are no landmines, we did that as a try to overcome the fear of dying by landmines”

at the end of her talk she said :” it was an Indescribable joy when we saw the checkpoints of the Free Army, there is no more something called the Islamic state, no more Burqa or shield, after that We continued our  journey and reached Salqin Our final destination after a terrifying journey which lasted 24 hours.”

As for making a decision to stay in the countryside of Idlib or to move toward turkey Muhammed the Arabic language teacher from Deir Ezzor and the resident in Al-Dana says : ” Actually the  situation here is much better than it is in the areas of the Islamic state In terms of harassment, about the most ridiculous things like the beard or the pants, but the worst thing in Idlib is the lack of jobs, but people prefer to stay here because of the lower costs, the family that spend 700 Dollar in turkey could live here and spend just 200 Dollar, we helped so many people from Deir Ezzor here as much as possible, some  activists Organizing donation campaigns from the rich people of the Eastern areas who work in the Arabian Gulf and turkey and send donations to the neediest families.

The penalty for the Smuggling of civilians to “the land of the infidels”
In the Literature of the Islamic state the land of the infidels is every area out of the Islamic state domination even if it was a street or a building separating them apart, as it is in Deir Ezzor city, where the neighborhoods of Al-Jorah and Al – Qosoor in regime-held areas are being bombed almost daily by mortar shells from the Neighboring districts which are under the domination of the Islamic state,  Smuggling of civilians out of the Islamic state areas is a major crime punishable by the Islamic state with execution and the Defamation of corpses in fear of  Scarcity of civilians in the areas of the Islamic state, those large areas under the control of the Islamic state in the eastern side of Syria are worthless without Citizens to impose the tribute and the strict rules on them.

In the middle of September 2014 the media office of” Al-Furat ” state which includes Al-bukamal city in the eastern side of Syria and AlQa’im city in Iraq, posted pictures that the Islamic state has executed people shot to death and crucified dead bodies In front of passers-by, the Islamic state has pasted papers on the executed people saying :” the judgment : the execution because he insisted to smuggle the families to the land of the infidels”

What the Fugitive elements of the Islamic state say?
we managed to reach Muhammed Alhasan (nickname) , he is a former member of the Islamic state who fled toward  Northern Syria after he stayed as a member of the Islamic state in Deir Ezzor for more than a year, he says : ” I am just like every other man from Deir Ezzor countryside who were forced to be with the Islamic state to stay alive, after Two courses of repentance the second one lasted for about 40 days, I started working in AlHisba office for few days After that i have been transferred to fight on the front of military airport of Deir Ezzor”

Muhammed attributed the Reasons for joining the islamic state to the need of a livelihood and the Inability to leave, but fewer number of people-as Muhammed says- joined the Islamic state were trying to beat up with the sword of the Islamic state To avenge those who have a vendetta with.

“They are all commoner sheikh no one from the brothers martyred”
When we asked them about  The direct cause of leaving the Islamic state and making the decision to escape, Muhammed says: At the end of September 2015 the fighter jets bombed AlSouq Almkbi(the covered market) in Al-Mayadin at noon, when the market was crowded, we arrived and it was a real massacre, the pieces of dead bodies all over the place, they are civilian traders, shops owners there or from the passersby, we helped all the all the alive injured people”

Muhammed continued: “maybe I forgot those scenes but I didn’t forget the words of Abu zaid Altunisi the prince of Alhisba, he answered one of the Islamic state  members on the radio saying:

“They are all commoner sheikh no one from the brothers  martyred”, he was happy and didn’t care about the deaths and injuries, that was the first time I started thinking to escape.

Muhammed added:” the Dispute today reached it’s apogee between the Foreign members of the Islamic state and the Influential Iraqi members, the foreign members want to stay in the cities Under the pretext that they built a state which has Institutions and leaders, but the security officers and the Iraqi leaders insist to  relinquish the small cities and the countryside because of the Increasing in the coalition bombing, and they decided to go back to Al-Anbar desert which they know well the way He knows his palm Details as he said.

The greatest density of displaced from Deir Ezzor is in Idlib
The relief workers Estimate the number of families from Deir Ezzor and residing in Idlib with thousands, Muhammed(nickname) and he is a relief worker from Al-Mayadin city who fled to the countryside of Idlib Recently and working in an office for distribution of humanitarian assistance in Salqin says:

We divided the area into Sectors For ease of statistics and here some of the families we documented till now but we didn’t count all the families permanently:

Muhammed added: “Salqin sector :Salqin city and Harm and their countryside include 212 families from Al-Mayadin city  followed by families from Alshaitat and Al Shheell, and some families from the western countryside of Deir Ezzor like Al Kasrah,Hawaig diab and Hawaig albumasaa

Idlib sector: has 70 families from several areas of DeirEzzor city and the countryside of it. Sarmada sector: also include Aqrabat an AlDana, this sector includes 165 families as we documented, most  of them are from Jadeed Ekedat and AlDahla villages in the eastern countryside of Deir Ezzor

The living situation of the displaced in Idlib countryside:

(A.S) and she is a migrant from the eastern countryside of Deir Ezzor who spent a year in Idlib until now  says: “we have adapted with the situation in Idlib, the most important thing that the Islamic state is not here, and a lot of our relatives and neighbors came to here, it is not a foreignness anymore but the worst thing are the aerial bombing and the exploitation from the traders, there are new habits and new food here in Idlib”. And she said that she has hope to go back to her home that she has been forced to leave it. “every day we say that we will go back to our house and our people, eventually the oppression will not last forever and we will go back to our homes.

As for Abdullah (nickname) and he is a father of 5 members family from Al-Bukamal and Resident in Kafr Dariyan in the countryside of Idlib he says about The experience of living in the northern Syria after he has been forced to leave his house : ” we fled from the hell of the Islamic state in the hope that my children will complete their education in the schools of Idlib, I have been shocked with the harsh reality, I mean the Local councils and the relief organizations don’t care about us, no one cares, while the escape pace from the areas of the Islamic state increased, some of the displaced shared their rented houses with the Newcomers, and others pitched tents in the yards of their houses to harbor as much as the can of the displaced, i have concluded that no one cares about the displaced but  another displaced.شىخفاres about the displaced but but other that my children will compl

Video inside one of the mentioned warehouses. Sarmada, September 2016

Initiatives to create organizations, Local councils and relief offices
A group of activists from Alshaitat tribe in the countryside of Salqin have rented a 4 dunams land to build a room to harbor the families coming from Deir Ezzor, until they have the chance to cross to turkey or until they find a house in the villages ofIdlib.

(M.SH) and he is one of the founders says :” The idea was born from the womb of suffering, Everyone chickened about helping our people who fled from the hell of the Islamic state in the eastern areas, neither the local councils nor relief organizations consider our situation but on the contrary, Some see us as if we were members of the Islamic state and others see us as wealthy people, millionaires and Former owners of oil wells, they are Trying to manipulate us, Sharia court of Azaz has prevented the newcomers from the eastern areas from entering Azaz city under the pretext of the Islamic state clients maybe will leak among the civilians, After negotiations the allowed the families with recommendation from the fighters of Ahrar Al-sharkia to enter Azaz”.

Another group of activists in Sarmada city have decided to rent Large warehouses to accommodate the arrivals from Deir Ezzor Temporarily until they find a suitable replacement, One of those in charge of the project says: These Warehouses are Uninhabitable and not Equipped with the most basic elements of living, We tried to prepare the Warehouses as much as possibleTo be a quick solution to our new guests”.

Other activists tried to form local councils Dependent on territorial representation of the displaced families In a move intended to assemble themselves, And unify efforts addressing the supporting organizations, Those efforts have not succeeded so far in achieving its goal because the Tribalism and regionalism divisions Still one of inhibitory factors to coordinate any collective effort to Relief the displaced.

In a related context a group of activists worked to form “the Association of the people of Deir Ezzor in Salqin” To be a gathering for all the people of Deir Ezzor, the Association has helped several families to find a place to stay and Providing aid.

Al-Mayadin relief office is another project Founded by activists from the Al-Mayadin city, It aims to provide temporary accommodation for new arrivals and the distribution of relief aid.

one of the founders of the project says: ” We’ve rented a large house To be a place for all people of the region when they arrive Until they can find a residence in Salqin or the Nearby villages, in Collaboration with the expatriate sons of Al-Mayadin in turkey and Gulf statesWe were able to distribute relief Baskets for the displaced who Resident in Salqin.

Suggestions and recommendations:
JFL demanding to support the individual contributions and initiatives aiming to ensure temporary housing for fugitive families and ensure relief baskets as ambulatory solutions until they reside. Also JFL is demanding to Re-evaluate the needs of displaced people in northern Syria urgently the way to ensure a better response to secure humanitarian relief for them through local and international organizations working in Syrian affairs And to support the individual initiatives in this regard, as well as the duty to highlight the bright stories about the Cooperation among the displaced In the context of civil resistance and achieve the dream of return.

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