Syrian Kurds fleeing to Northern Iraq | Refugee camp Bardarash
Since Turkey launched its offensive into Kurdish-controlled northern Syria there has been a strong refugee movement of Kurds from the area. Thousands of Syrian Kurds are fleeing from Rojava to neighboring Iraq. More than 14,000 people have already arrived in the autonomous region of Kurdistan (KRI) in the north of the country. Despite the official ceasefire in northern Syria, more than 1,500 people have crossed the border only in the last week. According to a top U.S diplomat “Turkey’s military operation in northern Syria, spearheaded by armed Islamist groups on its payroll, represents … what can only be described as war crimes and ethnic cleansing.”
It is still unclear how the political situation and therefore the refugee movement will develop. The Kurdish regional government has recently reopened two refugee camps, Bardarash and Gawilan, both south of Duhok, east of Mosul. Meanwhile, Bardarash is fully populated with over 12,000 people. UNHCR and the authorities are working on reuniting refugees from the camp with their family members residing in the Kurdistan region of Iraq.
The camps were originally built as temporary shelters for IS refugees from Mosul, but have been mostly empty since the liberation of Mosul. The infrastructure is very basic. The accommodation throughout the camp are simple tents. Many water pipes are broken or brittle and running water is not possible in all parts of the camp. Sanitary facilities and power supply are on a minimum standard. Warm meals have been cooked for the new arrivals. Meanwhile, the World Food Program is distributing food packages which can be prepared on small stoves for those who have one. According to people living on site, there is still shortage of food and not all sectors in the camp are being fully covered.
The approaching winter is an additional challenge. Already, temperatures are dropping severely at night. People have left behind all their belongings and only have what they could carry for days on foot. Lack of warm clothing is a big issue.
I have accompanied the women’s and children’s organization “Lotus Flower”, who are currently trying to distribute warm clothes and jackets to the people in the camp. The clothes are produced in a factory in Duhok, run by Syrian Kurds. We have been able to distribute a total of 500 women’s garments and 800 children’s jackets covering one of five sectors. In order to supply the other sectors in the camp any help is urgently needed. If you want to contribute, you can donate to the following account:
Pangea Project e.V.
Usage: LightenUp – Flüchtlingshilfe Irak
Thank you very much!
Further information on the numbers of refugees arriving in Iraq: Relief Web Irak
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