Throughout the year, tent residents face the obstacle of securing annual rent for private agricultural land, on which informal camps for displaced persons are built in Idleb.
During the recent military campaign, displaced persons set up informal camps on private land in exchange for an annual rent to their owners under urgent need. However, over time, low-income displaced persons find it difficult to secure those amounts.
In al-Salam camp near the town of Barisha, north of Idleb, the widow Umm Mohammed–a mother of six orphans– fears that she will once again leave her tent because she cannot pay rent for the land on which her tent is based.
“The amount owed for renting land at a mountainside may be acceptable; It ranges from $10 to $20. For a woman like me, however, who has no provider or fixed income, it’s very hard,” Umm Mohammed, who has been displaced for nearly three years, told al-Souria Net.
“The landowner’s demands to pay rent from the camp’s residents, along with the heat waves we are experiencing, have exacerbated our displacement and suffering crisis. Today, we only ask for a humanitarian entity or donor to contribute to us or cover the rent of the land,” she says.
Pay or leave
Abdullah al-Rahal, director of the Salam camp, which is threatened with relocation, explains that the camp is home to some 272 families, most of which are below the poverty line. The families include more than 50 families headed by widows and cases of disabilities and diseases, all of which cannot pay their rent.”
There are 452 random camps in north-western Syria, with some 235,000 inhabitants.
At the beginning of the displacement wave, agricultural land was free for displaced persons. But with the prolonged displacement period, which lasted nearly three years, the owners turned it into paid land, Rahal said.
“The rent required of the displaced are exposing them to a lot of stress, in light of the general living conditions and the various crises that the displaced suffer from,” he said.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.