Professor Dawn Chatty has written with Haian Dukhan for Al Jazeera this week about the impact of the Syrian civil war on the Bedouin community. Many in this community have become displaced either within Syria or further afield: “After 10 years of conflict, many Syrian Bedouin herders can no longer maintain their livelihoods or find sufficient fodder for their herds. Many of them already lost significant portions of their herds and have been internally displaced or pushed across international borders.”
The herders have also faced targeted attacks by both the Syrian government forces and ISIL (ISIS), as the different factions became increasingly suspicious of the herders who have refrained from openly aligning themselves with any group.
As Chatty and Dukhan write, the impact of the conflict on the Bedouin is rarely mentioned, but “as Bedouin herders are forced to settle in villages and towns, take up employment as labourers or seek refuge in neighbouring countries, not only an ancient, sustainable way of life but also a significant component of Syria's cultural heritage is being lost.”
Read the article: The civil war is threatening an ancient way of life in Syria