Women living in “widows’ camps” in Idlib
There are 46 camps known as “widows’ camps” that supposedly host widow or divorced women. Women living in these camps are subjected to isolation.
Idlib- Displaced women, who lost their husbands in the ongoing Syrian war, live in “widows” camps” where they are isolated from the world. These women take shelter in these camps and receive monthly aid but their freedom is taken away from them.
33-year-old Selam El-Abbod, a displaced woman from Kafr Sijna town, lives in the Meşhed Rohin camp, one of the widows’ camps, located in the north of Idlib, describing the life in the camp as “forced detention”. Stating that the women living in the camp try to live under prohibitions, Selam El-Abbod said, “Women are forbidden to leave where they live for any reason.” She tried to find a job for herself in order to take care of her children after the death of her husband but she had to take permission from the camp manager to look for a job.
Boys over the age of 12 are not allowed to live in these camps. Selam El-Abbod’s son Hassan Al-Aboud is 13 years old so he doesn’t live with his mother in the camp. “My son needs care, attention, advice and guidance at this age. He lost his father in a bombardment and lost me too due to the rules in the camp,” she told us.
“We are not free to leave the camp”
Sfaya El-jabban, a displaced woman from Al-Bureij village of Idlib, spoke to NuJINHA about the conditions in the camp and said, “We are not free to leave the camp. We cannot go out of the camp whenever we want. But we have to stay here to not loss our shelter and the monthly aid we receive.”
29-year-old Safaa Omran, the mother of three, told us that she could adapt to living in the camp and feel safer there.
Women face many challenges
Counseling psychologist Emel El-Zaator talked about the psychological effects of the abnormal situation faced by women living in the so-called “widows' camps” and said, “The women living in these camps are isolated from the world. They face any challenges in the camps and are subjected to restrictions.”
Tens of thousands of widow women
There are 46 camps across northwest Syria known as “widows’ camps” that host tens of thousands of widow or divorced women, according to a report released by the World Vision International (وورلد فيجن إنترناشونال) in April 2022. “These women and their children face chronic and high levels of violence, including neglect, verbal, physical and sexual abuse, as well as child marriage and child labor,” the report says.