An Urgent Call to Support Eastern Ghouta Area

Translated by Aisha Barazi

words in the photo read “we are hungry very hungry”

There is no area in Syria, liberated, besieged or conflict areas with the regime’s forces, that does not need aids in all means and aspects.  My words are not, in any way, aiming to distract the very little attention given to some liberated areas in Syria but I wish that they will bring more attention to the area of Eastern Ghouta before it is too late.

We all know the deficiency of resources which go to the local committees everywhere, which resulted in some of these committees, like the one in Aleppo lately, to condemn and stop all of their activities.    It is impossible to do the responsibilities assigned to those committees without sufficient resources.

Moreover, we all know how bad things have become in other areas in the North and East of Syria.  On the one’s hand, there is no security, chaos, abduction.. etc and on the other hand, the in-existence of public services which help the people to stay in their areas that suffer from shelling and daily revenge by the regime’s forces.

The Eastern Ghouta area when compared to other areas – including areas in Damascus city itself- is considered the best due to the security aspect, limited riots, no robbery mobs and many other aspects.  However, the situation is not perfect but it is the closest that could be reached amid the war and siege conditions in the area as well as the fact that most of the academic personnel were martyred, detained or have run away and their existence would have made a big difference in various aspects like police and court.

The situation won’t last like this for ever if the people in the area didn’t get aids to support the activities they are running and to maintain what they have achieved in the past months after liberation including security and civil services.

The area needs support to its police and court departments, which despite all of the current demerits, and we are admitting that we cannot build on its basis in the future at any given rate.  However, it is sufficient to maintain security and the people’s rights to a certain extent during the transitional stage.  The area needs the help of those departments to get its full independence of the third parties supporting them which are also trying to use them as a method of empowerment on land instead of helping those departments -as possible- so that they attain neutralism and independence of their decisions.

During our work in the Violations Documentation Center in Syria, the Eastern Ghouta area was the least, among all other areas ,on the basis of crimes committed by the fighting battalions against the civilians and with a great difference than the other documented areas.

This does not mean, at any rate, that the situation is perfect in the area and it should be left alone.  On the contrary, it means that it should be put under the microscope and get more attention to consolidate what have been accomplished and making sure it won’t be lost in case of future security changes on land such, breaking the siege, getting an exit outside the area, expanding to new areas or worse retreating on some points … etc).  The current abilities of those departments do not enable them to practice more authority on land for instance, protecting the private and public properties, which is leading to degradation of the level of services especially with the return of the displaced people, though few numbers have returned only.

The area has a privilege that all members of its fighting battalions are from its cities and towns, which gives and extra positive factor in case of disputes that can be resolved before they accentuate.  This also won’t last if the clashes intensify and all the factors change on the ground in a way or another.  The other thing the needs focus is the living aspect of the residents, starting from the public facilities, to job opportunities and ending with all the known basic services.

After two years and half of the start of our revolution, it is no longer practical to only think about direct aids instead we need to help the people to work and live with dignity via small private projects or service projects which needs human power to run taking into consideration that most of the residents in the area are unemployed at present.

Furthermore, we cannot continue to ask the local councils to perform their jobs without plans for operations and maintenance, to do the simplest jobs that help the civilians continue their lives under siege and shelling such as, providing drinkable and usable water, collecting the garbage from residential areas, supporting projects that provide food supplies from inside the besieged area which is under the threat of hunger and has a severe bread crisis since months.

If we continue to let the local councils to from and then leave them drowning in their disputes giving the lack of resources and inability of providing a few to the people who, in return, have to enslave themselves to the battalions that provide those services in exchange of loyalty and authority.  This will yield its results in the very near future exactly like what have happened in all the remaining liberated areas.

I know that all our previous and similar calls have gone with the wind, but there is still hope, even if a small one, to learn form the mistakes that happened in the other areas before it is too late.  Also, before the time comes to transfer all efforts to fix what have been damaged and cannot be fixed amid the surrounding chaos and helplessness.