Syrian Democratic Forces launch campaign to aid IDPs fleeing ISIS-held Raqqa


Soldiers of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) during a training session west of Raqqa. Photo: ARA News

ARA News

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) has launched a campaign to support thousands of displaced civilians from the ISIS-led Raqqa city, in northeastern Syria.

“Since 10k refugees have come to SDF-held areas we started a campaign to help them because we need to. But I believe we will also going to receive help from the coalition to this people,” Jesper Söder, a volunteer with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) told ARA News.

“I believe aid of better quantity is on the way, but is going to take some time to organize all of this since more and more civilians flee ISIS in Raqqa and head to SDF areas very day,” he said.

“Yesterday SDF started to distribute aid and relief to the people of the liberated villages adjacent to the city of the Tabqah. The aid and relief distributed to the people included flour, fuel, cans, bread and water. More help is on the way,” he said.

More than 10,000 civilians displaced from the Raqqa and Tabqa arrived on Thursday to areas controlled by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, after liberation of the villages of Al-Abbara and Tel Jerbo.

In the meantime, the newly created Raqqa Civilian Council called for international aid.

“The Council has set up several camps and is responsible for managing them. But the number of displaced people who have reached the safe areas has exceeded 10,000 the past few days. Therefore, we in the Civilian Council of Raqqa appeal to the international community, humanitarian organizations and the UN organizations to carry out their responsibility,” the council said in a statement on Thursday.

The Raqqa Civilian Council warned that there is a need for more support now and there is a threat of the spread of diseases, this while the people of Raqqa pay the price of facing these ‘terrorist groups on behalf of the world’.

Egid Ibrahim, a representative of the Kurdish humanitarian organization the Kurdish Red Crescent, warned in an interview with ARA News that this could result in a disaster and that the local self-administrations of Rojava are already hosting thousands of IDPs and refugees from Mosul, Deir ez-Zor, al-Bab, Shahba areas, Sinjar, Raqqa and Aleppo in several camps.

“We have some organizations but they are not supporting like we want it to be. The UNCHR and UNICEF are supporting some IDPs from Manbij and Raqqa, and some other organizations, which I cannot mention their names. But their capacity is limited, maybe 10 per cent. The Rojava Self-Administration in these areas is trying to support all these IDPs and refugees,” he said.

“It is difficult to receive all these IDPs, especially since there is a siege on Rojava, all the borders are closed, and we have this problem now,” he added.

“The SDF-led operation is closing in on Raqqa city, so we expect to have more IDPs, and after the liberation we also need support because Raqqa is a big city and has been for 3 to 4 years under Daesh [ISIS]. It needs a lot of aid and help to recover,” Ibrahim stated.

Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg | Source: ARA News

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