January 12, 2015
By Osama Abu Zeid and Brent Eng
AMMAN: Thousands of residents across camps in northern Syria reportedly began a hunger strike on Monday protesting their “inhuman” living conditions, one of the activists who started the campaign told Syria Direct on Monday.
“We demand improvements in the living conditions of the camps, and increased support for medicine and food,” said Abu Alaa, a resident in the Orient Camp in Idlib province near the Turkish border.
The campaign was spurred by an especially severe storm last week in which heavy rains flooded the camps and strong winds ripped tents from their foundations, forcing many to evacuate their tents, Abu Alaa said.
Displaced Syrians in Idlib want better living conditions. Photo courtesy of Syrian News Center.
The camps were flooded by the accompanying rains and surrounding roads became impassable, the activist said.
Most of the Syrians participating in the campaign are in camps near the Idlib town of Atma on the Turkish border, now home to a collection of 48 camps.
The area is controlled by Jabhat a-Nusra, Ahrar a-Sham and other Islamist rebel groups, though support for the camps also reportedly comes from the exiled Syrian National Coalition.
Some of those rebel groups, including Ahrar a-Sham, reportedly helped evacuate displaced Syrians from the camps in the beginning of the storm last week.
None of the groups has commented on the strike or conditions in the camps.
Turkish armed forces also facilitated the transfer of an unknown number of Syrians to the Turkish side of the border during the storm, reported pro-opposition news Siraj Press.
Exact numbers on the participants is unavailable, but pro-opposition Orient News, which has a correspondent in the Orient Camp, reported on Monday that Syrians from nearby camps, totaling 130,000 internally displaced people who fled their homes and now live in tents, may take part in the hunger strike.
The UN estimates that there are 7.6 million internally displaced Syrians, many of whom had to relocate multiple times.
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