Civil Administration in the opposition controlled areas ..Al-Rastan as a model

Civil Administration in the opposition controlled areas ..Al-Rastan as a model
Facebook Share



Amidst a Crisis Affecting all Sectors, Agreement on a New Local Council in

Al-Rastan Declared





Arabic version


A few days ago the formation of a new local council in Al-Rastan was declared unanimously amidst civil, revolutionary, and military events. The head of the new council, Mustafa Hussein, said that the council includes nine offices whose members are all local talents and experts, and that and it will attempt to solve the city’s urgent crises. The old council had announced the suspension of its activities to protest against the lack of funding for various essential service sectors, which resulted in large demonstrations that swept across the city and lasted for three consecutive weeks. During the demonstrations, protesters gained control of the warehouses of some relief associations and took everything inside. Approximately 50 thousand civilians are experiencing great difficulty in securing basic services such as water and electricity amidst a 70% unemployment rate after commercial and industrial traffic stopped, shifting the market to simple services that provide only the requirements of daily life to the population.



Residents creating shelters


Al-Rastan residents converted the water main lines, which flow into the city and connect Homs and Hama, to shelters to protect them from the regime’s air bombing over the city, which has not ceased for two years. Activist Yarub Al-Dali said to Suwar Magazine, “These channels secured relative protection for the people and function as substitutes for effective shelters, as they are about 25 cm thick and covered with soil on top, which is up to five meters thick.” He continued, “This is the latest invention of the people of Al-Rastan after they gave up on the idea that the daily shelling would stop. In early winter, people try to prepare and clean these channels and install thick nylon doors to prevent rainwater from collecting inside.’


Discontinuation of staple foods


The price of a package of bread reached about 300 Syrian pounds recently, since the city’s bakeries stopped working. According to Basil Ferrari, a member of the local council, the cause of this crisis is “The cessation of support from the Turkish relief organizations that were funding bakeries by subsidizing flour and fuel.” Ferrari added, “The crisis surpasses individual capabilities. We need 13 thousand dollars every three days, more than 155 thousand dollars monthly, to secure about 13,500 packages of bread. So, how could 31 thousand dollars from the Homs provincial council for Al-Rastan have been sufficient last year?”


Abdel-Wahab, an activist from the city, suggested that, “The local council should finance the purchase of wheat from farmers who have successful harvests, which have seen a marked improvement, despite the regime’s deliberate bombing and burning of fields. A small mill needs to be purchased and prepared as well.” Abdul Wahab added, “This process requires a single grant from one of the large organizations and then the purchase of fuel from the treasury of the local council on a regular basis. Thus, we can achieve partial food security for residents this winter."


A thirsty city


The price of one cubic meter of water sold by tankers reached 500 Syrian pounds, with constant stoppage of water in the city about a month ago. The local council’s fiscal deficit and the high diesel prices, which reached 250 Syrian pounds due to the imposition of fee by the regime checkpoints surrounding the city, stopped the water pumps from working in the underground wells that were drilled last year. Relief organizations are trying to help the poorest families by securing free water tankers daily, but the lack of funding threatens to stop these activities if the situation remains the same.



Al-Dali described the water crisis as old and added, “We have been deprived of water for three years. Some neighbourhoods have relied entirely on wells, but after 2012 the discontinuation of water pumping for the entire city has increased the pressure on the rest of the city and caused an increase in demand and prices.” The absence of accurate laboratories specialising in the analysis of water has increased the suffering of civilians despite the local branch of the Red Crescent’s attempts to secure chlorine for sterilisation. Some wells contain dust that causes an increase in the proportion of summer diseases, especially for infants. Hiam, who was displaced to the city from the Karm Al-Zeitoun district in Homs said, “After my baby got severe diarrhoea several times last summer, I got used to boiling the water that we drink daily, according to the advice of the doctors in the medical field station. And indeed her health improved.”




The regime’s bombing has destroyed most of the city's schools. In the past year, this led to the deaths of a number of students as they left school. This prompted many parents to stop sending their children to schools. This year, the education office has tried very hard to find alternatives to traditional schools by opening classes in basements and safe houses. Teaching staff and university student volunteers are trying to continue giving lessons to children in the elementary, preparatory, and secondary grades.


Nasreen from the Al-Houla area, a university student who left her studies, said to the Magazine, “I am trying to fill my spare time with teaching children Arabic and English. They are entrusted to us and if they continue to drop out of school they will turn into an illiterate generation that brings disaster to themselves and to Syria.” Concerning the difficulties that she is facing, Nasreen said, “The children's minds are obsessed with war; all their drawings and toys reflect death and destruction. We are trying to increase interactive activities as a kind of way to discharge negative energy.”


Dima, a general secondary student stated to the Magazine that, “For the last two years I’ve studied on my own at home. Al-Rastan teachers are trying to help me by giving me lessons for free. I will try to go to Homs to sit for the baccalaureate exam this year.” Dima added, “I am studying and hoping that my efforts will not be wasted and that I will not be forbidden from taking the exam, as a regime checkpoint denied my cousin from travelling to Homs to sit for her exams last year. As a result she was not able to enter university.”


Additionally, teachers from Al-Rastan are suffering from security harassment during their travel to receive their salaries from the Directorate of Education in Homs, which can result in arrest and assassination under charges of dealing with the armed opposition. However, their financial need pushes them to take the risk and to travel monthly. Often these teachers’ salaries are discontinued because of their political positions, depriving them of their livelihoods. Local organizations are trying to support these teachers with occasional financial aid as an alternative to their fixed salaries, which the regime has terminated.




Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry
Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry

Follow Us on Facebook
© 2019 Suwar Magazine. All Rights Reserved. Powered by Boulevard