There Is No Imminent Hope for Returning

As Syrian government forces are promoting for the end of the battles in Deir Ezzor province and control on the cities centers, thousands of displaced civilians are suffering from shelling and military actions that targeted Deir Ezzor in the second half of 2017.

The civilians’ displacement from Deir Ezzor has started since June 2012 following the assault of the province by the Syrian government forces and the beginning of the battles between them and the armed factions. Most of the IDPs were from the neighborhoods of Deir Ezzor city who headed towards Al Hasaka and Al Raqqa.

By the beginning of the government forces campaign to take over the cities and towns in the south of Euphrates river and the campaign of Al Jazeera Storm that was launched by Syria Democratic Forces backed by US-led Anti-ISIS Coalition, dozens of thousands of civilians were killed and displaced. The IDPs of the province were distributed to the areas held by SDF in Al Hasaka province along with some areas in Deir Ezzor countryside, the areas held by armed factions backed by Turkish government aka Euphrates Shield Forces in Aleppo countryside, the areas held by the armed factions in Idleb countryside along with Damascus city.

The Internally Displaced People (IDPs) means, as stated in the guiding principles of the internal displacement, people or groups who are forced to flee or leaving their houses or their usual residence as a result or pursuit to avoid the impacts of armed conflict or general violence cases, or human right violations, natural crises, or crises made by human beings and did not cross the international borders of the state.

“ Our houses were destroyed and we have nothing left to return to”, this what said by a displaced woman to the Justice for Life during an interview to talk about the reasons of her displacement, confirming her fear to return to her village that was controlled by the Syrian government forces, expressing her fear from being questioned about her relatives who are opponent to the Syrian authorities, especially after arresting one of her relatives by the Syrian security apparatuses after her returning to the areas held by those forces.

One of the IDPs from Al Tibni sub-district in Deir Ezzor western countryside, which was  recaptured by the Syrian government forces said the forces and allied militias stolen houses in the town and nothing left along with burning number of the houses after stealing everything, and this what was confirmed by civilians from the eastern countryside of Deir Ezzor.

The displaced civilians have nothing, but to wait and work on adapting with the new circumstances in the displacement areas, especially that they do not see a returning in the near future.

The Syrian authorities exerting no efforts to reassure those who are outside of their held areas, on the contrary, they arrested young men who are aged between 18 and 52 to recruit them in the military service. They also allowed some young men to return after being affiliated to the allied militias.

The Syrian authorities treating the IDPs who are coming from Deir Ezzor as they are suspected to be affiliated to “Islamic State” group; The Syrian security apparatuses arrested displaced civilians from the province of Deir Ezzor towards Damascus without knowing the charges, their relatives could not know the detention places until months. These apparatuses arrested patients who came from Deir Ezzor to Damascus for medical treatment.

The Syrian authorities forced the employees of the public institutions who were displaced from other provinces to return to their original areas under the threat of termination. Dozens of then could not return since they have no houses after being destroyed, and some woman could not return due to lack of security and safety in the government forces held areas in Deir Ezzor. Thus, they were terminated and deprived from their sole source of living.

The Syrian government shall keep and protect the properties of the civilians and hold accountable those who conduct offences against the public and private properties in the areas that were captured by its forces and the allied militias, and to provide the proper conditions to facilitate the safe returning of the displaced civilians, and not to expose the civilians who are displaced from Deir Ezzor province to any additional restrictions and to assure their right to live in any place inside their country. On the other hand, the civil council in the SDF held areas and the local councils in the northern Syria along with all humanitarian organizations active in those areas shall pay more consideration to the IDPs of Deir Ezzor and to provide them with humanitarian, medical, and basic aid until those IDPs have the ability to return to their homes.

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