Displaced Syrians find shelter in Idlb mosque

DHAKA: A Bangladeshi mother helping to weigh her newborn baby who is suffering various physical problems. – AFP

IDLIB, Syria: Almost 50 displaced civilians forced to flee their homes in Syria from on-going regime and Russian attacks have found refuge in an Idlib mosque. “I live in the mosque with my five children. They gave us money, a stove and a sponge to go to bed,” Fatma Ahmedi said. The civilians from 49 families are given food and bedding by the Turkish Red Crescent humanitarian agency. “We have taken refuge in Allah’s house, we stay there and they try to meet our every need,” Reyhan Ahey said.

Idlib falls within a de-escalation zone laid out in a deal between Turkey and Russia in late 2018. The Syrian regime and its allies, however, have consistently broken the terms of the cease-fire, launching frequent attacks inside the zone. The de-escalation zone is currently home to some four million civilians, including hundreds of thousands displaced in recent years by regime forces throughout the war-weary country.

“This is the southern part of Atme Camp in Idlib countryside and it is Dec. 26. We are having a great difficulty that the history ever witnessed. Everything is covered in mud. People are trying to open the closed roads with their own means. We need help from the NGOs here. For instance, yesterday there was a pregnant woman, who was about to give birth. But the rescue team could not reach her. How can you make such a woman walk for kilometers? The roads are terrible.”

“We are here at this camp just for an hour, and you can see the situation. People living here have to face these difficulties every moment. It is raining, and the roads are closed. Vehicles carrying water, bread, fruits and vegetables cannot move on. If there is an urgent case, people have to be carried in arms, as ambulances cannot reach them on roads. This is only the beginning of winter, and if it continues like this, people at this camp will have much greater difficulties. I call on the volunteers and aid organizations to help people here.”

In the wake of heavy rains, thousands of Syrian civilians staying at camps along the Turkish-Syrian border are awaiting humanitarian aid, locals told Anadolu Agency. Tents, houses, and roads were badly affected by heavy rains in the Atme camps region, according to recent video footage. “This is the southern part of Atme Camp in Idlib countryside and it is Dec. 26. We are having a great difficulty that the history ever witnessed. Everything is covered in mud. People are trying to open the closed roads with their own means,” one local said.

“We need help from the NGOs here. For instance, yesterday there was a pregnant woman, who was about to give birth. But the rescue team could not reach her. How can you make such a woman walk for kilometers? The roads are terrible.”

Another local shot a video of the environment as he told about the situation at the camp. “We are here at this camp just for an hour, and you can see the situation. People living here have to face these difficulties every moment. It is raining, and the roads are closed. Vehicles carrying water, bread, fruits and vegetables cannot move on. If there is an urgent case, people have to be carried in arms, as ambulances cannot reach them on roads,” he said, adding: “This is only the beginning of winter, and if it continues like this, people at this camp will have much greater difficulties. I call on the volunteers and aid organizations to help people here.”

In September 2018, Turkey and Russia agreed to turn Idlib into a de-escalation zone in which acts of aggression are expressly prohibited. Since then, more than 1,300 civilians have been killed in attacks by the regime and Russian forces in the de-escalation zone as the cease-fire continues to be violated. Over a million Syrians have moved near the Turkish border due to the intense attacks in 2019. According to the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, the Idlib province is home to around 3 million civilians, 75 percent of them women and children. – Reuters