Live From Domiz-1 camp with Syrian refugees

September 7th 2017.
Today, the radio workshop takes place in Domiz-1 camp.

Domiz-1 Camp is the oldest and biggest camp in Iraq. It hosts 32,000 Syrian refugees. The camp is managed by the Bureau of Relief and Humanitarian Affairs (BRHA), in partnership with the UNHCR.

Domiz looks like a city. Here, most of the shelters are permanent houses and you can find plenty of shops, mosques, garages and a big community center. There are all the facilities for daily life, like a school, a conference hall, a hospital and a wedding hall. Rasheed, the UNHCR Public Information Officer who accompanies us, tells us that there is even a special place in the camp for new weds’ honeymoon, guarded at the entrance.

In Domiz-1 camp, children are playing football, cats are sleeping on the roofs, and prosperous green gardens lay in front of houses while people drink tea and discuss in their shade. We could be in a town, if we forgot the checkpoint at the entrance, fences around the camp, and the stories of exile told by inhabitants.

Even after four years here, it remains for most of them a host place. They long for Syria and live with the traumatism of war, of the places and the dear ones they have lost. Most of them are concerned about the future of their children.

According to Rasheed, as Syrians have few perspectives of return, Domiz-1 may become a city.  The future of the conflict will tell the future of these 32,000 people and the 250,000 Syrians displaced in Iraq.

The city of Dohuk is close to the camp and lots of people work there. They have cars, which they use to go back to Syria sometimes in order to support their families who could not leave.

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After a period of destabilization caused by the arrivals of Kurdish Syrians at the beginning of the war, the economic situation is nowadays stable. Syrians have created jobs and the unemployment rate is not higher than elsewhere in Kurdistan. However an important part of those jobs is undeclared and badly paid.

Duhok is a city where host and hosted communities often meet, cultivating a specific cultural mix between Syrian Kurds, Yezidis and Iraqi Kurds. Kurdish and Syrians volunteers devote time to the camps inhabitants.

In Qandil community centre, a comfortable tent with A/C and tea, 8 Syrians are waiting for the radio workshop. Some of them are used to speaking with a microphone, thanks to Domiz camp news which creates media content by the camp inhabitants. It holds 31,000 followers on Facebook.

Once we begin talking, the conversation does not stop. Firstly the debate leads to the impact of radio and the preeminence of images in daily life. Then participants wish to talk about various subjects. From displacement to psychological traumatism, from the situation of the youth to daily life in a camp and music… We plug the microphones, and this discussion in live from Domiz is to listen here in the integral podcast in Arabic and English >

Arabic only version استەوخۆ لە کەمپی دۆمیز لە ئیراق , لەگەل پەنابەرە سوریەکان