At least 49 families have taken refuge in a mosque in the Syrian city of Idlib to escape attacks on civilians by the Bashar al-Assad regime and Russian forces.
The severe winter weather is also making life difficult, although the Turkish Red Crescent is supplying food and blankets to the displaced.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Abdullah Sharaf al-Din, who is among those sheltering in the mosque, said they had to leave their homes to escape the violent bombings by Russia and the Syrian regime in their area.
He said he took refuge in the mosque with his wife and his six children nine days ago, adding they are struggling to survive amid the harsh winter.
Sharaf al-Din's wife said her children are sick due to the cold weather.
She said she hopes the war will be over soon so they can return home.
Fatima Ahmadi explained that she took refuge in the mosque two days ago with her children to escape the severe bombing in her city, Maarat Al-Numan.
She pointed out that living conditions for them are very poor and that she could not find a place other than the mosque to protect her children.
Ahmadi thanked all the organizations and bodies that are supporting them, especially amid the frigid weather.
Since November, a wave of attacks by the Syrian regime and its supporters has resulted in the displacement of more than 264,000 civilians from Idlib to areas near the Turkish border, according to field reports.
On Dec. 20, the Assad regime and its allies launched a military campaign mainly in the cities of Maarat Al-Numan and Saraqib as well as the surrounding rural areas, capturing 35 residential areas.
Airstrikes on the region were halted following a visit to Moscow by a Turkish delegation led by Deputy Foreign Minister Sedat Onal on Dec. 23.
Turkey and Russia agreed in September last year 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 this year.
According to the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, Idlib province is home to around three million civilians, 75% of them women and children.
Since the eruption of the bloody civil war in Syria in 2011, Turkey has taken in some 3.7 million Syrians who fled their country, making it the world’s top refugee hosting country.
Ankara has so far spent $40 billion to provide for the refugees’ needs, according to official figures.Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.