AFRIN, Syrian Kurdistan (Kurdistan24) – On Thursday, the number of the Syrian Arab internally displaced people (IDPs) who fled northern Aleppo areas to the predominantly-Kurdish city of Afrin exceeded 30,000 IDPs in three months and 2,400 IDPs in the latest two days.
Speaking to Kurdistan24, Shiyar Mahmoud, the manager of a series of adjacent camps on the outskirts of Afrin, said on Thursday that there have been three batches of Syrian Arab IDPs who fled to Afrin since the fighting intensified between the al-Qaeda affiliated Al-Nusra Front and the Russian-backed Syrian army three months ago.
He added that the number of the first two batches exceeded thirty thousand Arab IDPs.
“The Kurdish authorities in Afrin Canton are doing their best to offer the required facilities and tents to the IDPs with the aid of some humanitarian organizations,” he said.
“Afrin which is suffering from an economic and military blockade hosts about 35,000 Syrian Arab IDPs. We care for these people but we are not sure how to attened to their needs when our small city has been blocked from all sides,” Mahmoud added.
Ibrahim Al-Ahmad, a Syrian Arab IDP from Azaz, said that leaving your house and living in a camp is not easy for anyone, but when we chose that over death.
“The living conditions are miserable here, but it is safe at least, and this is our basic need at the moment,” he said.
Additionally, the Syria-based Kurdish Hawar News Agency (ANHA) said in a detailed report on Monday that the number of IDPs who resorted to Afrin on Saturday and Sunday reached 2,411 displaced people.
“On Sunday, 838 citizens 376 of whom are women, turned to Afrin Canton from various Syrian cities, as a result of the clashes between the parties of the conflict in Syria,” ANHA report said.
In February, the Syrian army, backed by Russian airstrikes, intensified their attacks on the rebel-held areas in the north of Aleppo, which made tens of thousands flee to Afrin or the Turkish border.
Afrin, which is under the control of the Kurdish forces of People’s Protection Units (YPG), is under siege and is separated from the other Syrian Kurdish areas by Islamic State (IS) and al-Qaeda-affiliate, Nusra, from the east, Syrian Army from the south, and the blocked Turkish borders from the north and west.
Syria’s predominantly-Kurdish northern and northeastern areas, known as Rojava, have already hosted thousands of Iraqi refugees who fled from Islamic State (IS) assaults on Mosul and Sinjar in northern Iraq.
Reporting by Hisham Arafat
Editing by Ava Homa