Qamishli, Syria – The ongoing-armed conflict among politically, ideologically and ethnically different groups in Syria has aggravated the crisis and the deteriorating security situation.
Attempting to understand the security situations in many Syrian cities and towns, ARA News explored the town of Margada and its environs, south of Hasakah city, northeast of Syria. A town recently held by al-Qaeda splinter group of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) following intensive clashes with militants of Jabht al-Nusra, the Islamic Front and some factions linked to the Free Syrian Army (FSA).
Mohamad al-Ahmad, one of Margada’s residents, talked to ARA News about the state of panic and psychological trauma people, especially children, suffer from due to continuous clashes between ISIL and other armed groups on the outskirts of the town.
“Last Saturday, fierce clashes took place near Ghariba village -east of Margada- between ISIL militants and other groups, while a huge bombardment was heard in the entire region. Not to mention the numerous checkpoints on roads and entrances of the town and the surrounding villages, which we’ve never experienced before,” al-Ahmad said.
According to local sources, dozens of families escaped Margada town looking for a safe haven in other areas, while the majority of the population is still stuck inside the town and suffer from poor humanitarian conditions.
In the last two weeks, intermediate and secondary schools’ exams took place all over Syria. However, ISIL prevented the students of al-Dshisha town, Adla village and Margada town centers to submit the ‘state education’ exams, justifying that most students are not prepared because of the lack of security.
A minority of students could escape with their families and continue their studies outside Hasakah province, while the unlucky majority is deprived of the right to education due to the blockage imposed by ISIL on the residents.
The town of Mrgada and its environs suffer a complete power cut, and people currently resort to solar or fuel generators, according to a local source, who preferred anonymity.
“Even landlines are broken down and no cell phones could be accessed for communication,” he said. “Beside the constant water cut. We don’t know how to continue surviving under these hard conditions.”
Lacking agriculture constituents pushed people of the area to depend on oil incinerators to make a living. Refining fuel to produce diesel, gas and gasoline then sell them constitute the sole income in this area.
Water is no better; wells’ water is used for hygiene only, while potable water arrives by tanks transferring water from the al-Swar pumping station -a sub district northeast of Syria. People pay 1000 Syrian Liras for five barrels.
Victims of incinerating crude oil
Fuel incineration led to many respiratory and dermal diseases in northeastern Syria, and residents of Margada area seem to be among the most affected.
An employee in the medical observation center in the area, who preferred to stay anonymous, told ARA News: “Intestinal diseases as well as diarrhea have increased from 230 cases to 305, due to the lack of sterilized water and absence of effective health center in the town (Margada).”
“Margada suffers from lack of assistance.” said Ahmad, a resident of Margada. “Ataa aid organization and Ihsas Relief Group function in al-Shaddadi city -in Hasakah countryside- but they do not deliver any aid to Margada. Three months ago they distributed aid to Shaddadi neighbouring villages but not Margada.”
Ahmad talked about “an unfamiliar phenomenon to Hasakah society”, saying: “ISIL group started to collect alms taxes from people of agricultural projects in al-Hul, Tel Hamis and Shaddadi in Hasakah province, as part of the Islamic Sharia. People who abstain from paying will be punished as it is a ‘divine precept’ according to ISIL.”
“A committee in each region was appointed by ISIL to count lands and alms taxes then send them to Shaddadi city, which constitutes the main stronghold of ISIL group in Hasakah (renamed as al-Baraka Emirate by ISIL).”
Reporting by: Dilshad Mohammed
Source: ARA News
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