Al-Kamoneh / Al-Kamoune / Kemmune (Turkish) / الكمونة IDP camp, Sarmada, Al-Dana subdistrict, Harem district, Idlib governorate – Syria.

IDP = Internally Displaced Person.

This camp (hereinafter Al-Kamoneh) is referred to in this video from TRT World published 22nd December:

This is the camp which was bombed or shelled on 5th May this year but is now receiving what appears to be a significant upgrade by Turkish-led operators.

The TRT report “earlier this week” mentioned in this clip is difficult to identify as the name “Kemmune” which the reporter uses here is not explicitly stated in any earlier video from TRT from that week, though there are other videos touching on the IDP subject and showing tents, etc.

In fact, detail on IDP camps in Idlib is very difficult to find, away from mainstream generalisations and imprecision. For this reason, I decided to find the Al-Kamoneh camp and commenced the hunt the day after the above TRT video was published, eventually finding the detail I required four days, and about 140 bookmarks, later.

Factual detail on these camps seems to reside almost entirely within the databases of an assorted medley of NGOs or monitoring agencies. Few possess reports from any agent on site. These groups appear to rely heavily on satellite imagery culled from sources more up to date than those available via regular online maps, such as Google. Thus, some IDP camps are not visible at all on the latter type of map, and Al-Kamoneh is one of them.

The name of this camp – if Al-Kamoneh is in fact its name – derives from the Arabic for cumin, thus:

الكمونة from كمون.

كمو are the common characters.

Another name, Ghita Al-Rahmeh, is also mentioned for the camp. However, whatever its name is, its location can be seen here:


Google 26th August 2014 image


(Please note the town of Sarmada is identified only in Arabic; it is the first conurbation across the plain north-west of “Main Damage”and is marked with a red dot just above its name.)

Marked on that image are the site of the main 5th May strike and the top left and bottom right corners of this:al-kamoneh-pdf-detail



To see the camp’s location on the 2014 map, use:

Google Maps.

The point where the thin dark line running north-east meets, and forms a right angle with, a similar line running south-east marks the south-east corner of the main cluster of the camp, though in 2014 – as can be seen – the whole area of the current Al-Kamoneh camp was just empty hillside.

Other, older camps around Sarmada and beyond in Al-Dana subdistrict can be checked using the coordinates in this list (the six containing the word Sarmada are also shown on the Google Earth image at the top of this post, in addition to the unlisted Al-Kamoneh camp, to give context):

MS Word download.

Original source for that list was an .xlsx document “Syria_IDPSites_2016EarlyJan_HIU_USDoS” created on 14th January this year by the Humanitarian Information Unit of the Office of the Geographer and Global Issues, U.S. Department of State – it does not, as implied, contain detail on the Al-Kamoneh camp; none of the coordinates are far enough south. The camp was probably coming into being during the months prior to the 5th May attack, but not as early an January. Or, the department’s sources hadn’t noticed it in its beginnings.

During my enquiries, it became clear to me that most of Idlib and western Aleppo is host to, essentially, homeless people, some 800,000 or more of them, around 300,000 living with local families, another 300,000 or so mainly in camps or, otherwise, with unknown whereabouts, about 50,000 “under trees” and so on – and this was before the Aleppo East evacuation. As already stated, it is clear there is no central authority coordinating management of these displaced persons, the data itself disparate and scattered (the foregoing figures are from Reach). If further conflict is added to this expanse of human suffering and misery, the already downtrodden and bereft will find that their afflictions are insufficient, as they must now be murdered in bulk, to make good. And much of this will not be seen or monitored, in the empty and exposed places where some of these people live.

Hopefully, therefore, Turkey will continue to push forcefully ahead with its humanitarian effort, west of Aleppo, as its presence in this wise in Syria is a deterrent. As regards its northern, military advance mixed signals and manoeuvres appear currently to be emerging, from that state, as is to be expected with talks in Kazakhstan in the offing. Just under two weeks ago, 27th December had been billed for a tripartite meeting in Moscow, the participants Russia, Turkey and Iran, to discuss achieving an overall ceasefire throughout Syria. However, that meeting occurred on the the 20th. The next, in Kazakhstan, may include Assad. If so, this is not necessarily a meeting which will produce the aforementioned ceasefire, but a template for reconfigured military operations, as, when push becomes shove, Turkey will not abide the survival of Assad. She, or at any rate Erdogan, knows him too well.