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Urgent call about the situation of civilians in the area of Minbij (Kurdistan, Syria)

An urgent call for the United Nations, the government of the United States and the public opinion.

A call for attention and support of the people’s council of Minbiç to the United Nations (27 June 2016).

The objective of this report of the people’s council of Minbiç is to describe the situation of the people in the area of Minbiç, located in the north of Syria which finds itself since 32 days in a heavy war situation and to describe which support is needed to eliminate the sufferings of the people. At the same time this report is a call for support to the United Nations.

The people who live in the areas controlled by ISIS since four years, experience a high intensity of violence. The difficulties the people face, because of the usurpation of the economic resources and the spaces of vital needs, continue. The applied embargo in Rojava affects the whole population in Rojava.

The people in the war region of Minbiç who have been forced to leave their houses and livelihoods are in the first instance in an urgent need of support of food and health-care and of all humanitarian aid. Until now this support has been provided by the people’s council of Minbiç, which has restricted means and the support doesn’t suffice. There are still thousands of people who haven’t been reached and whose needs are not known. There is a shortage of clean water in the region. Dirty water, rotten food, insufficient nutrition and bad housing conditions are the cause of illnesses and the fast expansion of illnesses.

We made this urgent call to the whole world, because we believe that this human tragedy shouldn’t be ignored. According to our opinion, it is the duty of everybody who believes in universal human values to get rid of the marks of the traumatic experiences of this society which were created by the devastations of the enemy of humanity ISIS. It is not our aim of the offensive to free the people at the costs of lots of losses, because of restricted possibilities.

The present situation

The area of Minbiç is strongly affected by migration, because of the 4 years on-going war in Syria. This area is mostly inhabited by the Arabic population. Refugees came especially of Aleppo and other towns from the beginning of the war.

It is a tragedy that the area people fled to, to escape the war, became occupied by reactionary, inhuman and plundering forces of ISIS and the people found themselves in a situation they did not want and the need to struggle for their existence. In the intensive fighting, it is the priority of the military council of Minbiç to bring the people of the region out of the war-zones in freedom who has been subjected to cruelty for years.

This region has been under the control of ISIS for a long period and ISIS imposed its laws to the people. Long years they exercised inhuman, cruel practices. They made the people to submit to accomplish their authority and pursue their iron laws (Sharia) in the region. Cutting heads of of people for very simple reasons, torture of children and women before the eyes of the people are occurrences the people can talk about one for one. These inhuman practises are applied primarily for smoking cigarettes; for women showing their hands, feet or faces; for women unaccompanied going on the street and for men whose clothes, hair or beard are in opposition with the rules. Their only aim is to make their own dominance accepted and bring the people to their knees.

Women and children

As in all wars in the world women are the most vulnerable group. The violence and cruel practices affected mostly women. Women in this region only had the right to breathe and this only when ISIS wanted it. Women are not considered as humans; their voice shouldn’t be heard; their hands, feet and hair shouldn’t been seen, but they could be raped any time; like an object which can be used. Women who don’t fulfil these conditions don’t have the right to live, according the philosophy of ISIS.

Another group which suffers most by the war are children. Defenceless girls and boys who have seen the ferocities of ISIS will carry deep injuries in their minds and personalities. For women and children to live with a community like ISIS and been exposed to their violence is a war by itself. But if this is not enough to stay in heavy war areas and not only be psychologically wounded, but to be under risk of being physically wounded counts as a crime against humanity. In the whole war period, especially in zones of intensive fighting, it is the strategy of ISIS in all the areas it occupies to use the population as human shields. This is mainly a reality for women and children. The military council of Minbiç does everything to avoid civil losses and to rescue civilians, including putting its own soldiers under high risks and not using their military functions despite intensive attacks. Therefore paying a high number of losses.

Villages and settlements

The villages and settlements in the region have been completely abandoned, which caused a huge number of refugees. Emptying the area and to put mines in the area is a strategy ISIS uses to prevent the military council of Minbiç to perform operations to rescue civilians as well that it is their aim to prevent civilians of leaving the area, so they can be used as human shields. Only in the last clashes, ISIS forced the people of 25-30 villages they withdrew of to leave the village and a large number of people were forced to come with them.

The important living spaces were the last four years under the control of ISIS. Health centres and hospitals, fuel stations, bakeries and other spaces were in Syria under the control of the state. It was not possible to get other bread as from the big bakeries in the town centres. ISIS burnt most of these spaces down or blew them up when they withdrew. Now, in Minbiç there is no functioning space which serves the basic needs of the people. Bakeries, health institutions, fuel stations are all totally destroyed. As well that there is no functioning transport system. The people in Minbiç and the surroundings have serious economic problems, because of the high taxes they were due to pay.

The possibilities of Rojava and its urgent needs

The area of Rojava of Syria faces a long time a serious embargo for food and health products. The people in this area are facing difficulties concerning the obtainment of food and health services, now the situation became even more burdensome. Because the area of Minbiç is close, the people in the area started to mobilise help according their possibilities for the people of the region of Minbiç. İn this meaning it increases the burden on Rojava.

The region closest to Minbiç is Kobanê, which by itself suffered a very intensive war, not so long ago. The whole town was devastated, all institutions suffered. The health services in Kobanê and surroundings are not enough to serve the needs of the people and now they have to serve the needs of the people of the region of Minbiç as well. The health centres in Kobanê which have been destroyed by the war have still not been rebuilt. The shortage of food is a problem for the whole area of Rojava, but especially for the region of Kobanê. The developments in the region of Minbiç affect the region of Kobanê directly and made the situation even harder.

Details about the number of population and internal migration

In the region of Minbiç there are 435 villages, 3 settlements and one town centre. The estimated total population is around 350.000–400.000. Because of the war there are around 200.000 refugees in the outskirts. Still 150.000–200.000 people are living in the war areas. 70 % of them women and children. 30 % men and elderly men.
The people’s council of Minbiç, though not having enough means, attempts to provide health services to women, children and elderly persons, who became wounded because of the war or got ill because of the hot weather, scarcity of food and water. Especially the small children face difficulties under these circumstances. When transferring the civilians out of the war areas to the people’s council of Minbiç, the military council of Minbiç attempts to help with these services according to their own restricted possibilities. Confronted with the suffering, the military council of Minbiç shared their own restricted logistics with the civilian population.

Only in two weeks 72 children have been born in the health-centres in the area of the people’s council of Minbiç. The people’s council of Minbiç carried out a research, comprehending 50 families, to understand the compilation of the population more detail. According to the obtained information of this research, each family consists of 8 persons. Because of the war the numbers of men in the families is low. The families consist mainly of women and children. There is not a man in every family. There are men in only 4 of 5 families. The families consist mainly out of children. In each family there comes an infant of 0-11 months and 2 children between 1-4 years. The families consist of 3 children under the age of 5 and 1 child older as 5 years. 3 women in the childbearing age (15-49) and one elderly person lives in the families. There were 7 persons without a family. In only 14 days of war 117 have been killed in the war, 523 persons have been injured and 61 persons suffer of chronic diseases.

Housing conditions

200.000 persons fled because of the war live in camps set up in villages by the people’s council of Minbiç (13%). In these camps in the villages 4-5 families have to share a house and struggle for their existence.

12 % of the people live in tents, 17 % live in the outdoor, under threes, 5 % find shelter in schools or emptied public buildings, 6 % find shelter by friends or relatives in Kobanê.

47 % of the population live in emptied villages (the people in the villages moved together with ISIS, when ISIS withdrew the locals moved with them). These villages are cleaned of mines of ISIS, but still there is the chance mines might explode. The public buildings are so strong destroyed that they are not in a shape to be used. The living standards are far below human standards and the refugees face serious problems in meeting their basic needs. The military council of Minbiç and the people’s council of Minbiç despite the lack of possibilities attempt to meet the basic needs like food, housing and protection. But as declared, there are very serious problems in meeting the basic needs for such a large number of people, given the restricted possibilities.

It is clear that the people living in the war areas are subject to attacks and massacres. In the last period 30 civilians lost their lives because of attacks of ISIS. The only way to secure the people is to empty the villages in periods of clashes. It is not possible to move such a mass of people because there are neither suitable camps nor enough food. In summer problems because of lack of heating won’t arise; beds and blankets will be enough in the villages. But in the upcoming winter serious problems because of the cold are to be expected.

Clean water

Clean water is a problem because of the problems of electricity. At this moment there are serious problems in the provision of clean water. 70% of the people are provided with water, but this water is not suitable for drinking. Therefore illness like typhus started to spread in this region.

Food

Shortage of food is a basic problem. The primary problem is the lack of bread. The bakeries have been damaged and basic ingredients became unusable because of the war. Goods in a restricted amount reaching the civilian population in the area are provided by the people’s council of Minbiç. Organisations like Heva Sor a Kurd and doctors without borders provide aid. These organisations give food and medicines to the people’s council of Minbiç which distribute the goods among the people.
70 % of the people have one meal a day, 13 % have 2 meals a day and the ones who left behind eat irregularly. Milk and meat is only provided by the animals that have been left behind, which is far not enough. Fruit and vegetables don’t suffice. Anyway there is no porridge for the children.

Contagious diseases

The most often diagnosed contagious diseases: tropical sore, malaria, typhus, rabies as well as bites of snakes and scorpions. A five year old child died because of typhus, caused by dirty water.

Suspected use of chemical weapons

Some dead bodies show extreme blackness and swelling; small injuries show extreme inflammation and heal late; in places war took place vomiting, reddening of the eyes, diarrhoea and weakening of the skin; these are all signs for the use of chemical weapons.

Health services

The people’s council of Minbiç provides health services organised from Kobanê. For the whole population and the population of kobanê there are 2 hospital and 3 health centres. 17 doctors and 54 other health care workers work in these health centres. Because of safety reasons the people don’t have access to the health centres, therefore Heva Sor a Kurd tries to organise mobile health centres. There is a need for the possibility to see a regular treatment for diseases like cancer and kidney-problems. Because of a lack of instruments for examination the treatment of these kinds of illnesses are inhibited.

In the areas where the war intensified, there is a serious shortage of medicines and health equipment. Only in the last 20 days 12 tons of medicines have been used. There is a total 10 ton of supplies of medicines left. The general problem in Rojava of a lack of serum and vaccines because of the embargo continues.

Conclusions:
The people who lived in the areas controlled by ISIS have been subjected by a fierce form of violence in the last 4 years. Because of the usurpation of economic resources and the spaces of vital needs by ISIS, the people face serious economic difficulties. The applied embargo in Rojava affects the whole population in this region.

The people in the war region of Minbiç who have been forced to leave their houses and livelihoods are in an urgent need in the support of food and health-care. The restricted means of the people’s council of Minbiç don’t suffice. There is still a part of the population who haven’t been reached and whose needs are not known. There is a shortage of clean water. Dirty water, rotten food, insufficient nutrition and bad housing conditions are the cause of illnesses and the fast expansion of illnesses.

Our concrete demand as the people’s council of Minbiç:

We believe that this human tragedy shouldn’t be ignored. According to our opinion, it is the duty of everybody who believes in universal human values to get rid of the marks of the traumatic experiences of this society which were created by the devastations of the enemy of humanity ISIS. It is not our aim of the offensive to free the people at the costs of lots of losses, because of restricted possibilities.

With this call;
We expect that our voice is being heard and that the needs of the people of Minbiç are taken care of by the United Nations, the government of the United States and all partners part of the coalition against ISIS, especially the humanitarian aid institutions.

Yours sincerely,

The people’s council of Minbiç, 27 07 2016

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This entry was posted on Monday, July 18th, 2016 at 12:05 pm and is filed under Autonomy.