World, Middle East

Snowfall brings down tents in northern Syria, leaving refugees out in the cold

Nearly 50 tents damaged by heavy overnight snowfall, with tents collapsing on sleeping women and children

Omer Koparan   | 19.01.2022
Snowfall brings down tents in northern Syria, leaving refugees out in the cold

AZEZ, Syria

Many tents in refugee camps were unable to withstand the weight of snowfall in the opposition-held Afrin and Azez districts of northern Syria, and the snow also blocked local roads, leaving some residents unfortunate refugees from the storm.

The regions of Azez, al-Bab, and Afrin, already cleared of terrorists by Turkish forces and local allies, turned a chilly white after snowfall that begun to fall overnight.

Since 2016, Turkiye has launched a trio of successful anti-terror operations across its border in northern Syria to prevent the formation of a terror corridor and enable the peaceful settlement of residents: Euphrates Shield (2016), Olive Branch (2018), and Peace Spring (2019).

Although the snowfall stopped in the early morning, roads were closed in camps located around Afrin and Azez, where the snow piled as high as 40 centimeters (15.7 inches) deep.

In the region blanketed by snowfall, many tents were destroyed by the harsh weather and weight of snow.

Trying to clean their tents with the limited means at their disposal, Syrians sought support from aid groups when they could.

Tents collapsed on sleeping women and children

“After the snowfall, our tents collapsed on us. Rain turned into snow in an instant in the middle of the night,” Mohammed Hisham, a camp resident, told Anadolu Agency.

Saying that the rain is much easier for those living in the tents to deal with, Hisham added: "When the snow got heavy, the tents collapsed. The tents fell on women and children while they were sleeping. Nearly 50 tents were damaged."

They collect plastic and cardboard to help stay warm and ask aid groups to help them get through the harsh winter, he added.

“We covered the tent with blankets to protect ourselves from the cold weather, but when the snow came, it collapsed on us,” said Vedi Yacur, another camp resident.

They tried to fix the demolished tent with the help of their children, but it was no use, Yacur said.

"We had to move to our neighbors,” he added. “Benefactors provided winter fuel, but it wasn’t enough. We get our fuel by collecting plastic from all around.”

* Writing by Seda Sevencan​​​​​​​

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