Civilians flee as ISIS, Nusra rage over Deir e-Zor


June 10, 2014

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EASTERN EXODUS: More than 130,000 Syrians have fled Deir e-Zor province in 40 days of fighting between the Islamic State in Iraq and a-Sham (ISIS) and rebel groups led by Jabhat a-Nusra that culminated Tuesday in a media campaign launched to draw attention to the humanitarian crisis in the region.

“Thousands of families displaced by the crimes of Baghadidi (the leader of the al-Qaeda splinter group ISIS) wait for difficult days ahead with the coming of Ramadan,” reads the photo’s caption in Arabic, tweeted by a supporter of the “Deir e-Zor Needs Your Help Campaign,” launched Tuesday.

“In the picture, families from the village of Khasham (northeast of Deir e-Zor city) flee from fighting to the village of Abu Omar (northwest of Deir e-Zor city),” says Khalid Niklawi, an activist and member of Coalition of Youth for the Revolution in Deir e-Zor.

The Arabic hashtag “Deir e-Zor Needs Your Help,” was widely circulated on social media Tuesday as part of a campaign local media networks and activists launched to raise awareness of what they say is the suffering caused by battles between the Assad regime and ISIS in the city of Deir e-Zor.

“The ‘Deir e-Zor Needs Your Help’ campaign was originally started by certain media factions,” Niklawi told Syria Direct, adding that it was subsequently picked up by civil society, including the Shura Mujahadin Council.

The Shura Mujahadin Council is closely associated with the Islamic Front and al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat a-Nusra, the groups that currently control most of Deir e-Zor city.

“Relief aid arrived at the heart of the Deir e-Zor [Monday] night,” Niklawi said, adding that ISIS and opposition groups in city “should bear the responsibility for the delay in the arrival of the aid because of their fighting.”

-June 10, 2014

 

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