Syrians living in the former Daesh stronghold of Raqqa, now owned by the Syrian branch of the PKK terrorist organizationthe YPG, are desperate to leave as the brutality and persistent poverty of the terrorists continues to weigh on residents.
Mahmoud Dander, 75, wants to leave Syria but has a problem: It has no money. He recalled the good old days before protests and wars led to the collapse of son country and national currency crash. Syria was not flourishing back then but he had workle his children had college degrees and a decent future, and the food was always on Table.
It’s all gone now. “We fell, just like our currency,” he said.
Raqqa, the former de facto capital of the self-proclaimed “caliphate” of Daesh and home to about 300,000 people is now “free”, but many of its inhabitants try to leave. Those with a property try to sell it to save up for the trip to Turkey. Those without money struggle to cope.
At least 3,000 people left Raqqa for Turkey in 2021, according to Mohammed Nour, the cityco-president of the civil council.
Their reasons span the spectrum of post war life in Syria, one of the world’s most complex conflict zones. They include the economic collapse and widespread unemployment following one of the worst years of the drought, as well as the fears of a return of Daesh and a proliferation of criminal gangs. And there’s the looming specter of conflict between rival powers that control various rooms of northern Syria, including Turkey, Russia and Syrian regime forces.
On the surface, the city is slow recovery of Daesh rule It’s obvious. Cafes and restaurants are full of patrons. YPG/PKK led forces stand guard at every major intersection.
But poverty is endemic in the Arab majority city administered by the US-backed YPG. line of people up for basics like bread. Unemployed young men Sit down somewhere. Water and electricity are limited. Numerous live among the bombed-out ruins. Local officials say at least 30% of the city remains destroyed.
Poverty and unemployment drive young men in the arms of Daesh. YPG Claims new Daesh recruits captured last months had been attracted by money. At the same time, the YPG-directed city the administration received applications from 27,000 job seekers last yearbut had no job.
Milhem Daher, a 35-year-old engineer, is in the process of to sell son home businesses and properties to pay a smuggler to take it with its family of eight to Turkey, one key road for Syrian migrants try to win asylum in Europe.
He plans leave like soon as he has had enough money.
Daher had survived Raqqa’s recent violence history including the outbreak of The civil war in Syria in 2011 and the takeover by Daesh terrorists in 2014 who shot the city in the capital of their rule covering parts of Syria and Iraq. A US-led company coalition abandoned thousands of bombs on the vibrant time city for drive out Daesh, release it in 2017. Daesh lost son last territorial anchoring in Syria in 2019.
Daher came out of the dark chapter ready to invest but said he faced many obstacles, including a lack of resources and export markets. “If you sell to locals, it won’t make a profit,” he said.
For son first project, Daher bought seeds to grow vegetables. At harvest time, traders were not interested in pay the request price.
He bought trucks to lift the rubble amid reconstruction efforts. But the quality of the vehicles rapidly degraded as a result of bad fuel in the market and the lack of materials for maintenance. A chip factory and an Internet service company also waded.
Finally, Daher bought some cattle, but a devastating drought led to shortages in animal feed. His cattle died.
now he sells off What remains of these failed companies to start a new the life. He needs $10,000.
In Raqqa, having money can also be a problem like kidnappings for ransom are on the rise.
Immovable developer Imam al-Hasan, 37, was abducted from son home and outfit for days by attackers in military fatigue. To secure his release, he paid $400,000, money belonging to him and traders who trusted him with their savings. He complained to local authorities, but said nothing had been done. A month later the blue ordealdes are still visible on his face and the legs.
Al-Hasan, too, sells son home and personal effects. “There is nothing left for me here,” he said.
Of them of relatives of al-Hasan who left in September and recently arrived in Europe said that in addition to economic uncertainty, it was the menace of more violence that drove them to leave.
“At any moment the situation can explode, how can I stay there?” said Ibrahim, 27. He and Mohammed, 41, spoke on the condition that only their first names are used, citing security concerns for their wives and children still alive in the city.
Like many others, their journey from northeast Syria to Europe has begun via tunnels along the city of Ras al-Ain, which straddles the border with Turkey.
The smuggler had charged $2,000 per person. From there, the path to Europe was riddled with risk.
Ibrahim has arrived in Germany last week after an arduous journey that began in Belarus. Muhammad walked for treacherous miles before setting off for Greece by boat. He finished up in the Netherlands in October.
Mohammad waits for a chance to bring son family from Raqqa to Europe, he says in a telephone interview. For the moment, it is without work.
Back in Raqqa, Reem al-Ani, 70, prepares tea for of them. His son is the only one one of four children who stayed in Syria. The others are spread over the world.
Stairs leading to their apartment are riddled with bullet holes, remains of battles to dislodge Daesh. The ceilings are charred by smoke.
She got used to a silence house. “I miss them,” she said of son children.
Close, in Naim Square, old Dander said he could barely make ends meet, surviving on its rapid decline pension of son previous government work.
His three children have university degrees in engineering and literature, and one was a teacher, he says. But none could find work. He would like to have the money for help they leave.
“I spend think about every day how to obtain out,” he said.
Ankara considers the YPG, which is backed by the US-led anti-Daesh coalition on the pretext of fight the terrorist group on the ground, a grave national menace for the safety. Turkey strongly opposes the presence of YPG terrorists in northern Syria, which has been a major sticking point in strained Ankara-Washington relations. The United States provided military training and thousands of trucks of weapons to the YPG, despite the security concerns of son NATO ally.
Civilians have also expressed concern about the terrorist groupthe control over the area.
In northern Syria, districts under Turkish control are regularly targeted by the YPG.
The YPG forced young people areas under son control to join its terrorist forces under the so-called “compulsory conscription in the duty of self-defense.”
Turkey worked to prevent the YPG from establishing a de facto autonomous entity region in northern Syria, which would border Turkey and connect the so-called “Afrin canton” in the northwest with the “Kobani” and “Jazira cantons” in The North-east. Ankara describes this as a “terror corridor” which constitutes a serious menace for the safety of son national safety, emphasizing its possible impact on PKK activity around Turkish borders.