Middle East

Syrians weary of freezing weather, mud in Idlib camp

Over 130 families live in Samir camp, northwestern Syria amid flooding and mud due to recent heavy rains

Erdal Turkoglu and Mehmet Kemal Firik  | 07.01.2020 - Update : 07.01.2020
Syrians weary of freezing weather, mud in Idlib camp

IDLIB, Syria

Living in a mud-drenched camp with only a makeshift tent as protection from the freezing weather is more difficult than facing the regime's bombs, a Syrian teenager who took refuge with her family in Idlib, northwestern Syria told Anadolu Agency.

Erva Mervan, 13, is one of many who came to the camp in the southern Idlib, fleeing her hometown and attacks from Russian-backed Assad regime forces.

They are now struggling to survive the winter cold and heavy rains in the camp which houses around 130 families in a declared de-escalation zone in the province.

"We need food [...] We need a lot of things such as blankets and tents. Actually, we need anything," she said.

"We came here escaping [Bashar] Assad's bombings. But living here is more difficult than Assad's bombardment," she added.

The camp was built in a field in the Sarmada district, but its makeshift roads are flooded and the tents covered with mud.

Civilians in the camp get their drinking water from plastic tanks in the center of the camp that fill up with rainwater once a day.

The camp has seen heavy rains and temperatures dropping to the freezing point at night. Families that cannot find fuel or firewood collect and burn plastic, cardboard, old shoes and clothes from the surrounding area.

Semir Abdullah Casim is another resident at the Sarut camp.

A Mother of four, Casim told Anadolu Agency that she and her family had been in the camp for 20 days.

"Our tent flooded. We burn shoes, and pieces of cloths to warm up," she said.

"Our lunch was three eggs and we have nothing for dinner. We eat whatever we find," she added.

Fourteen-year-old Fatima Karima expressed to Anadolu Agency her sadness at being unable to attend school.

Abu Casim, the person in charge of Sarut Camp, said the number of people living in the camp was rising with each passing day.

"Our tents are in very bad condition. Due to heavy rain, everywhere is flooded. Even the main road in the camp is flooded. Some tents even lack heating [...] We are awaiting immediate aid," he said.

Turkey and Russia agreed in September 2018 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 1 million Syrians have moved near the Turkish border due to the intense attacks last year.

According to the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, Idlib province is home to around 3 million civilians, 75% of them women and children.

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