Qudsaya

Is located north west of Damascus and is administratively under Rural Damascus district. The current total number of population is approximately 160,000 individuals, including 6,000 Palestinian households (30,000 individuals).

The area was controlled by OAGs (Opposition Armed Groups) in early 2012 and was classified as Hard-to-Reach (HTR) by UN OCHA. Qudsaya witnessed significant violence in October 2012, when local pro-GoS (Government of Syria) armed groups based in nearby Jabal Al-Ward launched attacks into the town. In March 2014, a truce was held between GoS and OAGs which only stipulated a ceasefire, with OAGs remaining in control of the area.

 

On 27 September 2016 the GoS tightened the siege on the area and officials proposed a reconciliation agreement with terms stipulating the evacuation of irreconcilable members of the armed and political opposition and lifting access restrictions. Following heavy indirect fire by GoS between the 28th and 29th of September, around 6,000 civilians protested in Qudsaya on September 30th demanding the local council and OAGs to agree to the proposed reconciliation terms, to avoid a military escalation similar to that of Daraya town. On 1 October 2016, OAGs accepted the reconciliation terms offered by GoS stipulating a ceasefire, evacuation of fighters, their families and irreconcilable individuals to Idleb governorate; in return, the GoS would grant access to the area and reinstate services.

 

Notably, Qudsaya’s reconciliation was tied to the reconciliation of nearby Hameh town. OAGs in Hameh resisted initially the reconciliation with the GoS. On October 8th, 2016, OAGs accepted the terms of reconciliation following the heavy direct and indirect fire targeting the area and significant GoS military advance.

 

On October 14th, approximately 1,280 opposition fighters, activists, and civil society figures, and their families evacuated Hama (Hameh) and Qudsiya, Qudsiya subdistrict, and reached Idelb city as part of the reconciliation agreement. More than 5 local NGOs ceased their operations in the area as most of their staff were evacuated, being tied to the opposition.

 

A reconciliation agreement was reached between GoS and OAGs in October 2016 that

stipulated the evacuation of irreconcilable members of the armed and political opposition and lifting access restrictions. Subsequently, around 2500 individuals including OAGs fighters and their families, humanitarian activists and civilians evacuated the area to Northern Syria.

 

Approximately 6,000 Palestinian IDP households have been struggling with the deteriorating humanitarian situation as a result of the price leap, absence of stable financial resources, the sharp shortage in fuel supplies, frequent power blackouts, and absence of humanitarian assistance.

 

The vulnerable situation in the gathering  has been aggravated by the restrictions imposed by the Syrian government across the war-ravaged country in response to coronavirus outbreak. The restrictions has already impacted thousands of day laborers, families with female breadwinners, people with special needs, and low-income workers.

 

Sources of water in the area are: Marwan, Al Arad and Ein El Fijeh springs, with all three being potable. In general, water is available in the gathering; however, shortages are reported during the summer season when demand is higher. Residents resort to water trucks which cost SYP 1000 per 5 liters.

Electricity cuts reach up to 12 hours per day; many households (HH) cannot afford fuel for generators. In winter, most HHs reported that they cannot rely on the electricity for heating purposes, instead, they purchase Butane Gas cylinders, Diesel and Firewood (with the latter being the most item HHs can afford).

Embroidery class at the Jafra Community Center in Qudsaya

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Competition to choose the most beautiful painting in the Jafra Center in Qudsaya

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French course at Jafra Center in Qudsaya

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