Life, Middle East

Mother tells of deaths of children in escape to Turkey

Necva's son, daughter killed by airstrike as she fled Syria, two sons survived

Mother tells of deaths of children in escape to Turkey A Syrian kid, wounded after Russian airstrikes hit a school which Syrians sheltered in Azaz town of Aleppo province in Syria, is being hospitalized after he brought from Syria on February 17, 2016 in Kilis, Turkey. 10 Syrian kids receive medical treatment at Kilis state hospital in Turkey. (İzzet Mazi - Anadolu Agency)

By Izzet Mazi

KILIS, Turkey

Necva Abid fled her home in Syria’s Aleppo province ten days ago with four of her children amid Kurdish attacks backed by Russian airstrikes.

When she arrived in Turkey, only two of her children were still alive - their brother and sister having been killed in a Russian bombing around Azaz, a town just a few kilometers (miles) from the safety of the border.

Her surviving sons - Mahir, five, and nine-year-old Yusuf - were wounded during the bombardment and are being treated in Kilis, the Turkish province across the border from Azaz. Yusuf’s condition remains critical.

Necva left her village when forces belonging to the PYD - the Syrian affiliate of the PKK terror group in Turkey - launched attacks in northern Aleppo backed by Russian air power.

The village was destroyed in an airstrike and Necva decided to head towards a refugee camp near the Turkish border to seek safety.

“We managed to get to Azaz under the bombs,” she told an Anadolu Agency correspondent in Kilis. “We found a school there and took refuge with my four children, thinking it would be safer.

“But the Russian bombs that we were running away [from] found us there. The bombs that were dropped from warplanes fell on us as a cluster. My daughter and son lost their lives in the schoolyard.

“We came to Kilis with my two injured sons. One of them was operated [on]. I hope they will get their health [back].”

In Kilis and camps a short distance across the Syrian border, many refugees have stories similar to Necva’s tale - of fleeing their homes in the face of Russia’s war machine and losing family members along the way.

Tens of thousands have fled their homes in Aleppo province since the Syrian regime and PYD forces backed by Russian jets launched a large scale offensive earlier this month.

Turkey currently hosts 2.7 million Syrian refugees and has spent $9 billion caring for them. The UN’s refugee agency has allocated $455 million.

Necva said her husband went missing four years ago, when the Syrian civil war was just months old. It is now in its sixth year and, according to UN figures, more than 250,000 have been killed and more than 11 million forced from their homes.

Her surviving children are now Necva’s only support.

At Kilis State Hospital, Dr. Mustafa Tusat said Mahir was making a recovery but Yusuf’s condition remained precarious.

He said ten Syrian children had been brought to Kilis following the bombardment that killed Necva’s other children.

“The condition of the kids that were brought to our hospital was very bad,” Tusat said. He said two of the ten children died. The others were either operated on or placed in intensive care.

He said bomb fragments had been pulled from inside the wounded children.

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