Mercenaries stuck in Deir ez-Zor use civilians as human shields

Migrants in the Iwa Camp in the eastern rural areas of Deir ez-Zor said ISIS mercenaries are preventing civilians from leaving to use them as human shields.

There are approximately 140 families living in the Iwa Camp, which was opened on September 16, 2018 by the Deir ez-Zor Civilian Council with support from the MSD (Syrian Democratic Council). There are 90 tents in the camp, and two families in each tent. Civilians cross from ISIS invaded areas in Deir ez-Zor into safe zones through the corridors opened by the SDF (Syrian Democratic Forces) and are settled in these camps.

The camp administration provides daily bread for the migrants and drinking water is provided in tankers with support from the Al-Shiatat Municipality. But the tents are insufficient in protecting the people from the heat and the cold. The migrants need support for shelter, food and health.


Migrants in the camp spoke about the hardships they endured, that the mercenaries used them as human shields and the hardships in the camps after they were rescued from mercenaries' areas.

Hesen El-Musa from the Al Susa town said ISIS mercenaries stopped them when they attempted to cross into SDF-controlled territory and several civilians were killed on allegations of espionage or heresy.


El-Musa said the decisions are made by the Iraqi mercenary members and that civilians in their homes are being arrested arbitrarily.


Semira El-Mihemed from the Al-Bagouz town called on aid organizations to not ignore the camp conditions and send food and medical support.

Medical services are provided by the Kurdish Red Crescent Heyva Sor a Kurd units in the camp. The units work with limited resources, provide first aid and transport wounded people to hospitals. Heyva Sor a Kurd units have been targeted by mercenaries in the past.