Nowruz Camp: Refugees Who Fled ISIS Live in Misery

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Derik, Syria

January 26, 2015

More than 11,000 refugees live in miserable conditions in the Nowruz Camp in the outskirts of the Kurdish-majority city of Derik, also known as Malikia. This camp, set up more than a year ago, is run by the autonomous administration affiliated with the Democratic Union Party, known by the Kurdish acronym PYD.

Most Nowruz camp residents are Yezidi Kurds who fled the Shengal area in Iraq following an onslaught by ISIS. Other refugees are Arabs and Kurds who fled embattled areas in Syria.

This video includes interviews with Kurdish and Arab refugees as well as a camp administrator. Refugees complained of the lack adequate aid and the cold weather.


Various of tents
Various of children filling water from tank
Various of children
Various of tents and cooking utensils
Various of children standing in the mud
Various of refugee woman preparing food
Various of Sheikh Kkodr, camp administrator, talking to refugees


1 SOUNDBITE (Kurdish, Young Boy), Unnamed Camp Resident

There is a lot of rain and we do not have kerosene to light the heaters. The heaters do not work. We demand urgent aid and that the roads inside the camp be covered with asphalt.

2 SOUNDBITE (Kurdish, Man) Unnamed Yezidi Refugee

We faced storms and a harsh cold during this period. We did not have heaters or kerosene. Our tents were leaking. Our situation was very miserable. We want Shingal to be liberated so that this tragedy ends and we would be able to go back home.

3 SOUNDBITE (Kurdish, Woman) Badia Khudr, Yezidi Refugee from Shingal, Iraq
We fled Shingal when ISIS arrived. We walked for several days, feeling hungry and thirsty, until we reached Mount Sinjar. The Kurdish People’s Protection Units moved us from the mountain to Rojava [Syrian part of Kurdistan]. We pray for them because they saved us from death. ISIS kidnapped many of our women and young men. Now, at the camp, we are suffering from the harsh cold. Our children are cold and falling sick. Our tents are flooded with water. ISIS kidnapped many of my relatives. There are no toilets, gas, kerosene or milk for children. Rojava has weak capacities, but we are thankful for the help they are providing.
At the camp, there are Arab refugees from Syria and Iraq. There are also Muslims and Yezidis. We all have good relations with each other. We visit, help and lend each other what we need. We hope that ISIS would be gone so that we return to our homes.

4 SOUNDBITE (Arabic, Man) Ahmad Saadoun, Refugee from Aleppo

Q: What is your situation?

Our situation? We are doing fine.

We fled because of the war. We have been in Noroz camp for about eight months. We are receiving aid, but they are not enough. Heating is not good. These heaters do not provide enough warmth.

5 SOUNDBITE (Arabic, Man) Sheikh Khodr, an administrator of the camp

“The terrorist onslaught by ISIS inflicted the people of Sinjar, especially the Yezidis. We did not see any humanitarian aid. The Iraqi government should carry out its duties. The state, government and parliament should fulfil their duties. It should be a state with functioning institutions.