It has been more than 15 months since the return of the Yarmouk Basin area to Syrian government control. The area had been previously held by Islamic State affiliate Jaysh Khalid bin al-Waleed. Though efforts have been undertaken to restore services to the Yarmouk Basin area, many challenges remain. The locality of Koaiya, for example, still has no national grid electricity, as residents rely on solar panels instead. In my view it is important to highlight the services and humanitarian situation in this area.
To learn more about the situation in the locality, I interviewed a person from Koaiya on 23 November 2019 CE. Any parenthetical insertions in square brackets are my own.
Q: How is the electricity situation in the Basin? Has the national grid electricity returned?
A: No by God. Of course I will speak about my village Koaiya. In al-Shajra, some of the neighbourhoods have been lit up, and some of them have not yet received electricity. In Koaiya the transformers have come, but the electricity has not yet come.
Q: What are the reasons for the lack of return of electricity until now?
A: They have not finished the extension of the cables for all the villages of the Basin. I mean Koaiya, Bayt Arah, Koaiya al-Balad, also Ma'ariyah and Abideen.
Q: I heard that the problem is that the Dawa'esh [Islamic State guys] destroyed the cables before their liberation [i.e. the liberation of the villages].
A: Yes, the talk is correct. The infrastructure is entirely destroyed. Therefore the workers of the electricity work team have taken a long time to do the repair, with the weakness of capabilities of the al-Shajra electricity work team of course.
Q: How is the water situation in Koaiya and its environs? How many times does the water come each week?
A: The water in Koaiya has a specific positive aspect by the grace of God: namely that it is made to flow naturally, so there is no reason for pumps. It comes from the village of Ain Dhikr, but the water in Koaiya and Bayt Arah is very meagre. And the water comes two hours each week and nothing else besides that. Their allotment of water is poor.
Q: Is it not necessary for the people to buy water from tankers?
A: People bring tankers, but not like the rest of the villages who only rely on tankers, because it is water that is made to flow naturally as I told you.
Q: How are services like cleaning? Is there still a lot of destruction in the village? Are there any building projects for example?
A: The village is breathing the deep sigh of relief, and the situation is improving despite its slowness, but there is no room for comparison. There are obstacles, mostly of material nature. The sons of the area, the gangs made them taste woes. And now the situation is much better. Since the sons of the area are poor- the majority I mean- building activity is much less than its environs.
Q: The security situation in Koaiya is very good? And what are the biggest challenges from the realm of services and the humanitarian situation?
A: The security situation is very good, meaning matters have returned to their peaceful courses by the grace of God. The challenges regarding the humanitarian situation are that Koaiya is the last point in Hawran; it needs the work teams to fix the electricity in all Hawran so that the turn can reach them. It needs the humanitarian organisations covering all of Hawran and the last point to come to Koaiya. And there is a chance it will reach them and the greater probability is not. And finally, like the end of Wadi Barada, the water is coming muddied and light: that is if it arrives.