Syrian refugees seek employment and education
Many of the hundreds of thousands of Syrians, mostly Kurds, who fled into the Kurdistan Region are now living in abandoned houses in the Region’s capital and facing the prospect of unemployment and a lack of education.
The Region is still witnessing a rapidly increasing influx of refugees due to the internal conflict in Syria. To date, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and UNHCR have been able to provide adequate basic services, protection and assistance to the refugees.
Many camps in all three provinces of Duhok, Sulaimaniya and Erbil have been established for the refugees to live in.
Kawergosk, one of the camps set up in Erbil, now has over 2 400 tents sheltering 13 975 refugees in an open field. The roads within the camp, which is surrounded by a large circle fence, are not paved.
The refugees are provided with three meals a day and healthcare services. There is a hospital inside the camp where special physicians provide treatment and senior nurses are on call 24 hours a day. There is also a fire department ready to respond rapidly in case of danger.
The overall security in Kawergosk Camp is stable. The Kurdish Zeravani security, the security forces of the Asayesh and the police continue to ensure security in the camp and surrounding areas.
Only 30 kilometers from Kawergos, the Dara Shakran camp contains 2 000 tents and 2 000 small homes equipped with a WC, kitchen and shower room. The camp, which shelters 10 000 refugees, is located in an open field and is surrounded by a fence.
In some camps, the KRG has provided Syrian refugees with different kinds of support, including incamp services and primary schools, in order to keep the huge number of refugees under control. However, living conditions in some camps have yet to improve. Refugees in Dara Shakran lack both hospital facilities and a fire department.
It’s morning in the Dara Shakran Camp. Dara Jaleel, a refugee from Syria, is trying to persuade the security guard to let him out of the camp.
«We go outside every morning with special permits and try to find a job. We are ready to do anything to earn some money and get away from the camp,» Jaleel says.
Although Jaleed is willing to do laboring and construction jobs, he does not find a job every day. “We get food, but food isn’t the only thing we need. We sometimes need things that are not provided by the authorities and organizations, which is why we feel we need to work.”
Another refugee, Bewar Rasheed, 16, was a high school student back in Syria. He said, “I can’t study here because everything is different. The whole system is different, and I’m not at all clear about my future. Hopefully, that won’t last forever.”
Raseed hopes the KRG will open high school in areas near the camps so the refugees will not have to go without education.
Despite the difficulties and lack of services, people like Jaleel and Rasheed still accept living conditions in the Kurdistan Region, which they consider to be better than living in Syria since their families are safe from the weapons of war in the KRG.
The UN refugee agency estimates that some 63 000 Syrians have entered the Kurdish region of Iraq over the past two months, bringing the total number of refugees in the Region to at least 220 000. Most of them are ethnic Kurds.
The UN has predicted that almost a quarter of all Syrians will be forced to flee their country by the end of 2014 as a result of the escalating civil war.
Some 3.2 million Syrians are expected to have registered as refugees by the end of 2013, with that figure rising to more than 5.2 million next year, according to a recent announcement by the UN agencies. In addition, some 6.5 million people could be internally displaced by the end of 2014.