Health risk for people from Afrin in Shehba

The people from Afrin who have had to migrate to Shehba due to the Turkish state’s invasion attacks are facing a health risk. Many people including children have lost their lives due to bad health conditions.

Hundreds of thousands of people who have been forced to leave their homes in Afrin with the Turkish state and their allied gangs launching invasion attacks live under harsh conditions. Afrin city center was invaded on March 18, and the citizens left their homes and belongings behind and left the city to avoid being subjected to further massacres.

Most of the people sought refuge in the Shehba region, and some people settled in the Serdem and Berxwedan camps set up in the area, but the majority of the migrants still stay in mosques, schools and derelict houses. The Shehba region had recently been liberated from gangs, so the resources there are still limited.
With migrants coming in in the hundreds of thousands in just a few days has further depleted resources, and with the summer coming, the excessive heat has brought on diseases.


Afrin Canton Democratic Autonomous Council Co-chair Hevi Mistefa Ibrahim spoke to the ANF about the problems and needs the migrants from Afrin in Shehba have.

Ibrahim said there were no health organizations or internationa institution that accompanied the people of Afrin as they left the city and said: “Many children and elderly people lost their lives on the way.”

The people of Afrin have been struggling to survive in Shehba for a month. Some vital needs are met by the Afrin Canton Autonomous Council, but those are limited to bread and shelter.

Ibrahim said, “But no aid or support has come from any international institution or human rights organizations for this people to date. The migrant organization and the Red Cross held a total of one visit, and that was more like a symbolic gesture, like giving alms. It’s shameful to even talk about what they gave, considering the needs.”


Currently there are two camps in the region, and some 1.000 families have been settled there. But hundreds of families are still living in mosques and derelict houses. Ibrahim said: “Every day some children and chronically ill people lose their lives due to a lack of resources and medication.”

Ibrahim also called for aid: “We are calling on our people, first and foremost. Shehba is a grounds for resistance. They should support the people of Afrin. We have sent dozens of letters to humanitarian organizations. The summer months are coming. There will be many diseases emerging due to the heat. Health organizations should come and visit here. No committee has come yet. Our people should continue with their protests, they should make the decision makers hear the voice of the people of Afrin. There should be an international decision to defend the people of Afrin in Shehba. We also want to return to our lands under supervision by international observers and defense.”


Ibrahim said some 200.000 people in Shehba are facing a risk to their lives: “All vital necessities are lacking. As the autonomous administration, our resources are not enough to meet all the needs of the people.”


Ibrahim said some patients are seriously ill and added: “We don’t have the means to treat them under these conditions. There is a list of 150 to 200 severely ill people, who should be taken to various locations where they can receive hospital treatment. We appealed with many places to have these patients receive treatment as they should, but we haven’t received answers to date. Roads should be opened for these patients. So for that, we say medical organizations should come and observe the situation first hand. This many people don’t have to wait for their own death just because you can’t make up your mind.”


Ibrahim said hygiene conditions in the camp grounds and other places are bad, so many diseases have come up:

“We are seeing a lot of Hebil Heleb cases (sores that appear on the body due to heat and dirt in summer months). There is also measles and other summer heat related diseases. There s a great risk. We need committees of medicine and health. We need mosquito medication. We need milk for infants. In this sense, everybody and all institutions should support the people of Afrin.”