Babsiqa is a locality in the Barisha Mountain area of north Idlib countryside. It has many archaeological remains but unfortunately the humanitarian and services situation in the locality is not good. To learn more about this situation, I conducted an interview with the media wing for the local council of Babsiqa. This interview was conducted on 12 January 2020. It is slightly edited and condensed for clarity. Any parenthetical insertions in square brackets are my own.
Q: What is the number of inhabitants in Babsiqa? And most of the inhabitants now are IDPs or original inhabitants?
A: The number of inhabitants in Babsiqa is 4000 inhabitants amid residents and IDPs and the greater number is that of the IDPs approximately. Most of the inhabitants are IDPs.
Q: From which regions are the IDPs?
A: The al-Ghab region, al-Habit and its environs.
Q: How is the services and humanitarian situation in the locality in general?
A: By God dear sir, the services situation is very bad. Because there are no capabilities. With regards to the council, are capabilities are weak, there is no support.
Q: For example the electricity is from generators only? Is there water reaching the homes of the people?
A: With regards to the electricity, most of it is solar power. And every family has electricity according to its capability. The electricity is 12 volts only. With regards to the water, 1.5 inches [NB: equivalent to around 8 cubic metres] is what serves the village and we are very much lacking water. An inch and a quarter [sic] how will it suffice for 4000 inhabitants? We have a well that we dug recently, the quantity of the water in it is 30 cubic metres. But we do not have the capability of buying the equipment for it.
Q: So most of the water comes from tankers?
A: Yes correct but hired. The price of the tanker is 15 [Turkish] liras, since the well [NB: not the well dug recently by the council] is supported by the GOAL NGO and the well is not joined to the village. Most of the people are buying water on the market. The tanker of 20 barrels: its price is 40 liras.
Q: Are there any projects for the local council during the past year?
A: By God yesterday we have a project of expanding the road. Self-supported. There is no NGO participating in this project nor any specific side. The project is self-supported by the council.
Q: Yes. Is there no financial aid from the Salvation Government for your projects?
A: No, brother, there is none. The project we have undertaken from two days ago, its expenses were from the pocket of the head of the council. May God reward him best.
Q: Yes. In short what are the most important needs of the village currently and the most important problems?
A: Frankly we are in need of everything, but in the first rank is the need for water. We have dug a well and we do not have the capability to prepare it. If we prepare this well, it will relieve a great burden from our people in the locality, in addition to the sewage and cleaning.
Q: Lastly what is the number of members of the local council and what are its offices? And how are the members of the council appointed?
A: Brother, the council's head was changed around a week ago. Of course the appointment of the council is from the Salvation Government. The Salvation Government is the one that chooses the head of the council and agrees to it. And the head of the council is the one who chooses the members and submits for them a letter to the government. The number of members must be four members and the head of the council.