Displaced Syrians begin to return to homes in the east despite security fears

Displaced Syrians begin to return to homes in the east despite security fears
Facing harassment and exploitation at the hands of unscrupulous landlords in the north, some Syrians displaced from Deir az-Zour are returning home.
2 min read
08 Oct, 2018
Some Syrians are risking returning to their homes after facing further hardships once displaced [Getty]
Some Syrian refugees in the city of al-Bab, north Syria, are choosing to return to their homes in Deir az-Zour in the east of the country, despite the threat posed by Iranian militias and regime forces, and dangers of imprisonment.

"We can't afford the high rents in al-Bab," said 43-year-old Akram Salamah. Tensions between refugees and locals from the city are also motivating his departure.

Another refugee, Karima al-Durairi, said that she also planned on returning to Deir az-Zour - but was concerned about finding a school for her children. 

Costs are also a concern which has led al-Durairi's family to return, as fuel in Deir az-Zour is cheaper than the expensive firewood in al-Bab.

However, she also has serious concerns about security, as her eldest son has recently turned 18 and could be conscripted into the regime army. 

Ayman al-Abdullah meanwhile said he plans to cultivate his land and rebuild his house, heavily damaged in the fighting between Kurdish forces and the Islamic State group. "How long can we survive this suffering in al-Bab?" he asked.

Earlier this year local activists from al-Bab appealed for city residents to charge fair rent to displaced people coming from other parts of Syria.

"The price of [renting] a house is $300. This is unacceptable, you must help the displaced," wrote media activist Daniel Kelsle on social media. 

Others are concerned that their houses and land could be expropriated, either under the new land law in Syria which allows the regime to take possession of vacant properties, or by militias; Yasser Abu Omran, another Syrian displaced from the east, said he planned to return, fearing that Hizballah forces had taken control of houses in his town.

Residents of east Syria have reported frequent harrassment and extortion from regime and foreign militias who have reasserted control over the area after the Islamic State group was ousted from Deir az-Zour last year.

Meanwhile Russian military reinforcements arrived in east Syria over the weekend to prepare for an expected offensive against remnants of IS in the area who maintain a presence near the city of al-Mayadeen.

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