Ibta' is a locality in Deraa countryside, located some 20 km from Deraa city and some 80 km from Damascus. It lies between two other Deraa province towns: Sheikh Maskeen and Da'el. To learn more about the present situation in Ibta', I conducted an interview on 6 May 2020 with the press office of the Ibta' municipal council. Any parenthetical insertions in square brackets are my own.
Q: What is the number of inhabitants in Ibta' currently and who are the biggest families?
A: The number of inhabitants according to the last local survey but not with definitive accuracy is 23700 people. In the coming days, work will be done on a more precise survey. The biggest family is the al-Jahid family, then al-Hariri, then al-Nasirat, and following them (in no order) al-Ayash, al-Qatifan, al-Damad, Abu Halawa. And there are a number of the other families.
Q: How is the current situation in terms of services and livelihood in the general sense?
A: The services situation is generally acceptable as a services situation but the services present within the current circumstances are considered very good.
Q: The electricity comes for how many hours? And the water is available how many times a week?
A: The electricity is in accordance with the ministry's rationing plan: 4 by 2 or 4 by 3 [i.e. 4 hours connection with 2 or 3 hours cut off]. The water is available and very good as the locality relies in its being supplied with water on the groundwater wells present in the locality, as the locality possesses more than 8 wells that meet the needs of housing, excluding the private wells present near the residential neighbourhoods that sometimes meet the needs of the residents and professions through the additional quantity. The locality also possesses a number of agricultural wells.
Q: The biggest accomplishments of the municipal office since the return of the locality to the embrace of the homeland?
A: Work has been done on renovating a number of the roads as well as repairing the ground phone network. And the electricity network has been renovated and the situation of the electricity transformers has been improved. And there are a number of accomplishments of organisational matters and implementation of precautionary measures to counter the corona epidemic. And there are many matters that have been implemented within the simple capabilities.
Q: The biggest challenges in terms of services and the humanitarian situation?
A: In the beginning a deficiency of male staff in the local council. In terms of the services situation: some of the roads still need work and the sewage network needs work and the middle of the general roads needs renovation and lighting. The humanitarian situation is somewhat unstable in the locality. There are many poor families, orphans and widows and some lacking income and unemployed.
Q: Has life been impacted much with the rise of the price of the dollar? And have the people of the locality participated in reconstruction?
A: The dollar has no relation with matters of life. The fluctuations of the prices and the like are a result of the sanctions imposed on our Syria. There are many families suffering because of the fluctuation of the prices. The people of the locality participate in reconstruction in what they possess of simple capabilities and there are youth- volunteers in their work- who are carrying out voluntary and service acts as well as social and humanitarian campaigns at all levels.
Q: What is the number of members of the municipal office? And its main offices?
A: The members of the council are 8 in number. The offices are: the office of the head of the council, technical office, information office, finance and accounting office, workers office, contracts office.