Since the start of the Syrian clashes, a large number of Syrians have migrated to the city of Al Salmiya, which is located 30 kilometers to the west of the city of Hama. The city of Al Salmiya is considered the capital of the Ismaili sect and therefore is of large importance to Syria and the region.
In the wake of the explosion that targeted the headquarters of the People’s Committee at the end of January and the initial wave of refugees coming from both Hama and Homs, the security in Al Salmiya was tightened. This resulted in further unrest, including the abuse of the refugee population and the destruction of their housing.
00 :02 If we want to discuss the process of displacement to Salameyah, we have to dissect it into two different segments. The first is prior to the bombing that occurred two months ago in the city. The other segment discusses what happened post bombing.
00 :17 The city is hosting approximately 50,000 to 60,000 refugees. As a result, from the influx of refugees, the economy has flourished. The shopkeepers have benefited in a noticeable manner, trade volume has increased, and stores that are in key markets witnessed better work.
00 :35 The first major influx of refugees arrived in Al Salamiyah from Hama. Entire families moved to the area, most of them being women and children. The offensive on Homs brought another wave of refugees to Al Salamiyah larger than that, that came from Hama. After which, the bombing of the People's Committee occurred.
00 :51 The People’s Committee increased it security measures after the bomb detonation. Al Salamiya locals started going to the houses of the refugees, especially to tenants, and beat up some of the masses. They tortured the men and threatened their women and children. They claimed they want to beat and kill them. Furthermore, they shredded their rent contracts so that they no longer have alibis to stay, resulting in the refugees leaving the city of Al Salameyah due to fear and intimidation.
01 :17 The site of the bombings are these residential buildings and the headquarters of the people’s committee that was bombed. Also, this is the house of the head of the area.
01 :36 and this is the sign of the party again (inaudible)
01 :42 It was obvious that the refugees were kicked out due to, both, a security and military decision from the government. The tool to execute it was by the use of the thugs i.e the people’s committee. How ? By pressuring them, by attacking their homes and harassing them on the streets. They would take someones identification card and ask him, "you are from Homs. Whats brings you here?"
02 :00 My siblings were in Al Salamiya, so I moved to the area.
02 :06 I left Homs at the time that the big strike happened
02 : 12 In regards to the bombing that happened here in Al Salamiya, it instilled fear in people. We started hearing people say that they are going to kick us out and to be careful. As a result of that, we did not dare to go out even if we were short on bread. We were afraid to go out and buy bread.
02 :31 These are my kids, and there are my brother's children and the children of my other brother. We guided them to start working. My son who is in sixth grade is working for 100 Syrian pounds in order to finance himself.
02 :46 The refugees have nothing to do with this. We are sheltering women and children, they believed that we are sheltering the women and children of the men that are fighting outside.