Ongoing clashes between Sudan’s military and a powerful paramilitary group have left thousands of residents stranded in their homes in the capital, Khartoum, including many Syrian nationals.
The fighting between the military and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) erupted Saturday and continued Sunday, after months of tensions between the once-partnered sides. According to the country’s doctors’ syndicate, at least 56 people have been killed and nearly 600 others wounded as a result of clashes in the capital Khartoum and other areas.
Among those stranded in Khartoum are hundreds of Syrian nationals, many of whom have been living there since the beginning of Syria’s conflict in 2011.
“There are dozens of Kurdish families from Syria who are stuck in their homes in Khartoum,” said Ahmed Kute, a Syrian Kurdish man who lives in the Sudanese capital.
Kute told VOA that the closure of the city’s airport, one of the main flashpoints, has made it difficult for the Syrian community in Khartoum to leave Sudan.
More than 90,000 Syrian refugees live in Khartoum and other parts of Sudan, according to United Nations figures from 2021. Many other Syrians also have been residing in Sudan, although no official statistics are available.
Arif Mohammed, another Syrian man from the town of Kobani who now lives in Khartoum, said 20 members of his family are currently stranded in the capital because of the violence.
“People are really afraid that this fighting will continue for a while, and they will have no place to go,” he told VOA. “The airport is closed, and the Egyptian border is about 1,000 kilometers [621 miles] away.”
Despite an agreement reached Sunday between the two warring sides to open temporary humanitarian corridors to allow civilians to leave Khartoum, observers said thousands of residents were not able to leave.
“Civilians are still stuck in many parts of Khartoum where the fighting is taking place,” said Amal al-Hassan, editor-in-chief of the Khartoum-based news site Al Taghyeer.
Hassan, who lives in the city of Omdurman, near Khartoum, said fierce clashes erupted in her area as well.
“The intensification of fighting in Khartoum and other cities increases the chance of more residents, including refugees, getting caught in the crossfire,” she told VOA in a phone interview as the sounds of artillery and gunshots were heard in the background.
World leaders and U.N. officials are calling on the fighting sides to end the violence and begin a process of dialogue.
This story originated in VOA’s Kurdish service.