12 March 2014
Since the outbreak of the Syrian civil war in 2011, large parts of cities such as Homs and Aleppo have been reduced to rubble. But in the mainly Kurdish towns of the north, a building boom is in progress.
Fahed Jankair, a lawyer and member of the municipal council in the north-eastern town of Derik, says the boom began after the Assad regime withdrew from the area, and freed the Kurdish population to engage in land transactions.
He told a reporter from the Rudaw website: "It used to be the case that only those who owned the land could build on it. You could not transfer land ownership to someone else without permission, and permission was not granted if the buyer was a Kurd."
It was the responsibility of the Syrian municipal police to enforce these laws, but when but when the Assad regime withdrew from the Kurdish regions, ceding control to the Democratic Union Party (PYD), a lively property market began operation and landowners and construction entrepreneurs set up joint projects.
Refugees queue for emergency supplies in Damascus (UNRWA photo)
The PYD, which has declared autonomy over three provinces, has been instrumental in keeping the three-year war largely out of Syria’s Kurdish regions.
About 250,000 Syrians have sought refuge in across the border, in the autonomous Kurdish region of Iraq.
Here a wave of schools projects is under way to help Syrian children continue their education.
A number of primary schools have already opened, and the first secondary establishment has now been opened in the Domiz camp.
Tom Van Nuffelen, Unesco’s field co-ordinator for the Syrian Refugee Response, says two other secondary schools are currently being built in Kawergosk Camp and Darashakran Camp, the second and third largest Syrian refugee camps in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.