Newly displaced Syrians face crowded camps and harsh weather

February, 2020

As soon as he heard reports that Syrian government forces were moving towards his home city of Saraqib, Muadh al-Ahmad decided to flee.

"We knew what was coming. Families did not want to be buried under the rubble of their own homes so we got up and left," the 34-year-old told Al Jazeera.

According to al-Ahmad, the city in northwestern Syria quickly turned into a "ghost town" in the few days that preceded Syrian government forces' attack on the city, backed by Russian and Syrian fighter jets.

"We left in an endless stream of trucks and cars moving towards the unknown," said al-Ahmad. "I can't imagine the day of judgement being any different," he said.

He now lives with his young family in Atma camp, one of the many camps for displaced people along the Turkey-Syria border. He told Al Jazeera that the biggest struggle was the harsh weather conditions, with the winter temperatures falling below zero.

"We're exposed to freezing temperatures without even a heater or fuel to keep us warm. In most places, humanitarian aid and NGOs are nowhere to be found."

According to the United Nations, air and ground attacks displaced approximately 100,000 people from their homes in the last week. Some 700,000 people have fled from northwestern Syria since December, when the Syrian government launched its latest offensive on the region as Syrian President Bashar al-Assad tries to regain control of the whole of the country. The UN has described the displacement as one of the worst humanitarian crises in Syria's nearly nine-year-long war.

Source: AJ