Home Investigative Reports Médecins Sans Frontières/MSF Ceases all its Activities in Several of Northeast Syria’s Areas

Médecins Sans Frontières/MSF Ceases all its Activities in Several of Northeast Syria’s Areas

The 12.000 internally displaced persons in Ain Issa Town’s camp are the most affected by the organization’s decision, put into force on November 30, 2018

by wael.m
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In the Ain Issa Town’s Camp[1], north of Raqqa City, the concerns of thousands of internally displaced persons/IDPs were augmented, added to them civilians in the areas of Ayn al-Arab/ Kobanî and al-Tabqah, northeast Syria[2]. The inflated state of fear was triggered by the French Médecins Sans Frontières/MSF (Doctors Without Borders)’s decision to halt all its medical activities, as well as the funding it provides to these areas starting from November 30, 2018.[3]

On October 31, 2018, a notice was issued by the MSF Head of Mission in Syria’s North, Brian Moller, informing all the staffers contracted with the organization of the decision providing for ceasing all the activities run by the MSF in the Ain Issa Town’s camp and the medical center in the al-Tabqah City, in addition to the administrative activities and those conducted by the organization’s offices and storage facilities in Ayn al-Arab/ Kobanî City. The head of mission also pointed out that the halt is to be followed by the organization’s administrative withdrawal from Northeast Syria on December 15, 2018. Syrians for Truth and Justice/STJ was confirmed the news by a local medical source/staffer contracted with the MSF, who said that the major reason for the organization’s end of its medical activities in Northeast Syria is the expiry of the duration appointed to the activities implemented by the organization, which is to shift focus to harder hit areas, as he put it.

According to STJ’s field researcher, the MSF’s decision to put an end to all its medical activities in Northeast Syria has effected a severe blow to the people who benefited from the services offered by the organization in the city of al-Tabqah and the town of Ain Issa, including 12.000 displaced persons in the latter’s camp, adding that the MSF-affiliated medical center in the Ain Issa Camp and the one in the al-Tabqah City stopped providing their services to the two areas’ residents and the internally displaced persons alike only two weeks after the above-mentioned notice was issued, on November 15, 2018 in particular. That is 15 days ahead of the deadline. The MSF’s decision to halt its medical activities in Northeast Syria has also given rise to the concerns of the area’s residents and displaced, who became anxious that this international organization’s withdrawal is an introduction to the retreat of all the humanitarian organizations operating in the area.

In a former report, STJ covered the severely deteriorating humanitarian conditions in the Ain Issa Camp, which resulted from the lack of basic services necessary to the displaced, such as shortage of food materials and the exacerbating medical status.[4]

A photo of the notice issued by the MSF Head of Mission in Northern Syria, Brian Moller, on October 31, 2018, concerning the cession of all its medical activities and the support it provides in the area. Photo credit: Local staffer contracted with the MSF in Northeast Syria.

You may read and download the full version of this report in PDF format by clicking here.

[1] Ain Issa Camp: It is located to the north of the Raqqa City, specifically north of Ain Issa Town. The camp was established on March 8, 2016, following the increasing number of displaced, who fled the provinces of Raqqa and Deir ez-Zor, which back then were controlled by the Islamic State/ISIS, acronymed Daesh in Arabic. The camp incubates 12.000 Syrian internally displaced persons, most of whom are from Raqqa and Deir ez-Zor, in addition to 500 Iraqi refugees. The camp is run by the Autonomous Administration, under the auspice of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees/UNHCR.

[2] It is held by the Syrian Democratic Forces/SDF while run by the Autonomous Administration.

[3] A notice to cease all activities issued by the MSF Head of Mission in Northern Syria on October 31, 2018. The notice was provided by one of the organization’s local contractors.

[4] “Ain Issa Camp Destination for the Fleeing from Deir ez-Zur Battles and Prior to that the Fleeing from Ar-Raqqa Battles.” STJ, on December 2, 2017. Last visited: November 21, 2019. https://stj-sy.org/en/347/.

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