Providing basic services under siege: Preliminary insights from interim councils and medical providers in besieged urban areas of Syria

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    The interim councils and medical workers operating in besieged cities in opposition-held areas of Syria have faced enormous challenges in providing services to citizens. Despite the extremely difficult operating environment, some semblance of organized government has been installed by anti-regime rebels, whose functions include provision of basic services. Data collected from interviews with interim councils and medical workers in four opposition-held areas suggest that despite the acutely constrained environment and overwhelming challenges, governance structures there demonstrate a degree of success in delivering basic services to civilian populations. Their provision of basic services constitutes more than a bargaining tool or legitimacy signalling, and is better understood as an integral part of revolutionary struggle. Although producing an objective picture of events on the ground is hindered by the conflict conditions and heavy propaganda, the Syrian experience of service provision under siege merits further exploration and has relevance for other conflict environments.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)309-324
    Number of pages16
    JournalEnvironment and Urbanization
    Issue number1
    Early online date2 Nov 2018
    Publication statusPublished - Apr 2019

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    • Syria
    • basic services
    • conflict
    • local government
    • siege

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
    • Urban Studies

    Institute themes

    • Peace and Conflict
    • Security and Resilience


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