Ariha

Key facts

► Ariha Town is known for being one of Syria’s oldest summer resorts and touristic destination for having an exquisite nature and significant monements. The Syrian geographer Yaqut al-Hamawi wrote in 1226 that Ariha was a small town in the district of Aleppo and “one of the pleasantest and best of the places on God’s earth.” He remarked that it was abundant in orchards, gardens and rivers.

► Ariha was the scene of fighting between government and rebel forces from March 2012.

► The town has nearly 8.000 housing units, and currently 3000 houses are affected with light or heavy repairable damage levels (loss of doors and windows, holesin walls and ceilings, cracks in ceilings, collapse of main walls) and 800 houses are completely destroyed and needed reconstruction.

► Today Ariha has 50.000 inhabitants and approximately 9.000 families, so many houses are accomodated with more than one family. Nearly 10.000 individuals are IDPs hosted by Ariha community.

Text from: Support to the Syrian population affected by the Syrian conflict, SARD.

Ariha Town is known for being one of Syria’s oldest summer resorts and touristic destination for having an exquisite nature and significant monements, plus the location of the Jabal al’Arba’in and its famous cave, a mountain near Maarin al-Jabal in the Hama Governorate.

The majority of Ariha’s people either work in governmental jobs, agricolture, especially in cherry cultivation and mahaleb (prunus mahaleb or St Lucie cherry is a species of cherry tree, cultivated for a spice obtained from the cherry seeds) or in industry, especially in concrete block industry, during the war most of the people abandoned their jobs due to security concerns, as well as industrialists due to the demolition in their factories and shops, in addition to the back tracking of agricolture owing to the burning of trees.
Because of the high cost of living and the lack of livelihood most of the people depend on their savings to meet the daily needs of life and the revival of agricolture.

The town has nearly 8.000 housing units, and currently 3000 houses are affected with light or heavy repairable damage levels (loss of doors and windows, holesin walls and ceilings, cracks in ceilings, collapse of main walls) and 800 houses are completely destroyed and needed reconstruction. Today Ariha has 50.000 inhabitants and approximately 9.000 families, so many houses are accomodated with more than one family. Nearly 10.000 individuals are IDPs hosted by Ariha community, most of the displaced people are from Aleppo countryside, Homs city and Damascus countryside.

Ariha experienced shelling which targated the houses, especially the neighborhood that faces Idlib-Lattakia highway, which endured intense bombing during the battle of Ariha in 2013 and 2015, resulting the dispaacement of the people to the nearby villages which lasted for months. Ariha faced different types of destruction ranging from light damage (wall and roof) to completely destroyed buildings. Damage in public facilities and infrastructure has also accrued and the traditional shops were almost totally demolishes owing to the overthrow of a warplane in 2016.
People tried recovering their houses after going back in them, others were not capable of mending their houses so they settled as internal displaced families, the town is encountering airstrikes every now and then.
Ariha’s affairs are handled by a local council consisting of its people which has service offices and special administrators, facilitating community services.

3000
damaged houses

800
destroyed houses

10000
IDPs

9000
families in 8000 houses

► Infrastructures: The town is located near Idlib-Lattakia highway and connected to the nearby villages (e.g. Nahlaya village, Al-Mastumah village, Mseibin village) by a network of roads which need renovation (Maintenance & Asphalt) due to the intense shelling.

► Public buildings: During the war, 6 schools were destroyed and got out of service, lowering the number of schools (high schools, preparatory schools, elementary schools) from 19 to 13 schools which are appropriate for the educational process. The educational process is managed by a number of teachers, nearly 340 teachers (M&F), some of them are volunteers working for free and some of them are being paid by Hama city (GoS) and others are being paid by the free ministry of education. The city has a hospital which is provided with medical equipments and specialized staff and is supported by Violet organization.

► Water and Sanitation: The town is equipped with a sanitation system. However, owing to the war the system is suffering from many jams and problems and in need of maintenance. The town is provided with water by the boreholes in Al-Mastumah village. It has a water network which is being pumped with water by Violet Organization. Nevertheless, water is not reaching all the houses because of the discontinuous pumping and the damages caused by shelling, in addition to , the water network is in need of maintenance. Therefore, the majority of the people rely on water tanks (4000 S.P per tank). Each family consumes nearly about two tanks per month.

► Tenure and property: Ariha is considered to be the gathering of many surrounding villages and its traditional shops were serving most of these villages. However, due to the destruction that happened to the shops led to a weak economic movement in the city. It also had many shops and sewing workshops plus a block factory which most of them were damaged due to the war.