Established by Fathi Ibrahim Bayoud 2005 - Homs

Turkish Derik camp turned into nightmare for Syrian refugees

Features | 2016-04-08 03:38:58
Turkish Derik camp turned into nightmare for Syrian refugees

Translation by Yusra Ahmed

(Zaman Al Wasl)- Derik camp near Mardin city at the Syrian-Turkish borders, witnessed several incidents of fire, which incited huge worried about the safety and neglect the Syrian refugees suffer compared to other camps in Turkey.

the latest comic-tragic accident was when the school children and teachers were scared when they heard the siren of the fire-engine thinking that it was warning of fire, but the reality was that the fire brigade wanted to test the readiness and skills of the team because it failed to turn off the last fire on time which resulted in destroying dozens of tents and killed 4 children and injured other..

Refugees reported that 5 families have been transferred from the camp to Midayat camp, and others are waiting their turn to move after the last fire and the visit of the United Nations delegates.

Modar al-Asaad, the official spokesman of the Syrian Association for Syrian refugees Affairs confirmed to Zaman Al Wasl that they have requested transferring people from Derik camp to other better place, mentioning that annoyance, mistreatment and security hardship are prevail in the camp reached to preventing people from using mobile phones in the camp which hosts almost 7000 people.

One of the refugees living in the camp confirmed that fires happen almost at daily bases, some of them are put out by people themselves, while others reached to uncontrolled stage. The main reasons of fires according to the speaker was exploding some electrical equipments. Moreover, when the electricity started to have long period of time of cut-off, many people started relaying on fire to cook their food, which increased possibility of catching fire.

“Last summer a fire destroyed 7 collections of tents (about 42 tents), although no one was killed, but it led to lots of damage and caused destruction of the official documents like identity cards and passports, even some memorable photos”, the spokesman said.
He explained that density and overcrowding of tents, no more than 2 meter separates a tent from another, is the most important reason behind fast spread of fire once it broke out in one tent, like what happened in the fire that destroyed 12 collections in which Ahmed, the 3-year-old boy from al-Ghab was killed.

The third fire had killed 3 girls under 10 years of age, and many injured among them the mother of those girls, who was reported to have died in hospital.

Other refugees held the fire brigade responsibility as they many times arrived late and they were not professional and ready enough to put fire out. Others suspected arson to be a reason because many fires happened at night.

Jadaan al-Sharabi run away from the practices of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) in Hasaka and lives now in Derik camp. He expected to have better life relief, but he reported that he was feeling like being in prison. He told Zaman Al Wasl that his children suffered of severe abdominal pain and vomiting, when they had eaten contaminated food, and the same happened to other people in the camp, that caused a state of anger among people in the camp as they were worried about their health and their children’s life, who gathered in the main square of the camp, but they were faced with hitting and tear gas bombs which was not expected.

“we were in the school and close to the place of event, we saw the former manager of the camp and the school manager and many employees most of them were Kurdish-Turks who started hitting people with stones and clashed with people which forced the Turkish police to interfere to stop conflict” the teacher Abo al-Hakam reported.

The source mentioned that people in Derik city threaten refugees and tell them that they all are ISIS-supporters “Dawaesh”, and they need a cannon to get rid of them all.

Jadaan reported an incident affected him a lot, when a disabled man’s wife called “Abo Ibrahim” needed to go to the “Logistic centre” to get the family’s share of tea and sugar, but the responsible demanded her to show her face, when she refused she was deprived of her share and went back home to her children without anything. Abo Ibrahim needed to go himself to collect his stuff, but the employee refused to give him what he needed, after some argument, the employee assaulted the disabled man and threw him to ground, then more 7 members came to hit him, another man wanted to defend the Abo Ibrahim and took a gun from a policeman which increased in the chaos among people, later the two men were transferred from the camp.

When people demanded changing the manager of the camp “Tshitin” and his assistant “Ahmed” and another employee called Ismael, their response was in a humiliating act to all people in the camp, when they collected women in the camp’s main square a day before Fitr Eid (Ramadan Eid) in order to distribute the Eid clothes on children, but they demanded only women to receive the stuff and any woman accompanied by a man or a child was deprived from her right.

Another example of mistreating and exploiting refugees in the camp was the shopping centre, although it was small but people called it “the Mall”, in which they can find thing they need but at high prices, almost three folds prices in other camps, not to mention the long queue and waiting time to buy the goods.

Another inhuman and unacceptable incident was when a man has heart disease went for treatment at hospital in Diar Bakr, but when he returned back, he was refused entry to the camp claiming that he had left without a permission, although he was transferred to the hospital by the medical officer because the clinic in the camp was not equipped to treat him.

Treatment of Syrians in hospitals in Mardin city is bad as well, as employees and nurses there keep claiming that doctors responsible for treating Syrians are away.

Derik camp was established by The Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) in Mardin city southern of Turkey, it is designed to host 20 thousand people, over an area f 220 square kilometer. In contains 450 tents for Syrian refugees who run away from areas under the Islamic State’s control after the air strikes of the US-lead alliance. Other refugees were transferred to the camp from Hatai, Mardin and Adana, added to those people who were captured at the boarders between Turkey and Europe and at coast of Aegean sea.

There are almost 3 million Syrians in Turkey, 300 thousand of them live in camps, while the rest live in different cities like Istanbul, Adana, Mardin and Hatai.

Turkey has signed an agreement with European Union on March 18, to return illegal immigrants who leave Turkey to Greek islands starting 2 days after the agreement, and Europe would accept a Syrian refugee for each illegal immigrant returned to Turkey, besides accelerating the process to fund Turkey with 3 billion Euro to use in supporting Syrian refugees in Turkey which has determined 250 thousand names as refugees on its land.
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