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    Floods in Syrian refugee camps leave thousands of families devastated

09:36 22 December 2021 Author :  

Fatima Jasim is facing a new challenge in her makeshift tent at Idlib's Zifir Camp, where she took shelter after fleeing a war imposed by Syria's Bashar al-Asad regime and its Russian allies. 

Incessant rains have wrecked not only Fatima's tent but also the shelters of over 3,700 Syrian refugees in the surrounding villages of Idlib near the Turkish border, who are currently without a place to sleep during the harsh winter.

"Everyone living here requires various kinds of help," she told Anadolu Agency.

Rain and flooding hit the refugee camps in northwest Syria, affecting tens of thousands of people. Families fleeing Syria's civil conflict, which began in early 2011 when the Assad regime repressed pro-democracy protests, are now living in makeshift tents in Idlib's camps.

"We are unable to sleep in our tents at night. Water seeps into the tents. My husband is old and unable to move due to the bitter cold. We're starving and it's raining at the same time," Fatima said of the camp's situation, adding "only Allah understands our plight."

She says that cooking is difficult for her. 

"We cook the food by burning the waste plastic bags I collect," she added.

She asked international humanitarian agencies to provide food, clothing and fuel assistance, emphasizing that they are living in extremely terrible conditions.

Over 500 tents have become unusable, Mohammed Hallaj, director of the Syria Emergency Response Coordinator, told Anadolu Agency. At least 3,742 families have been affected by the rains, and 2,145 families' tents have been damaged by floodwaters," he added.

The roads of 104 rain-affected camps are closed, he said.

According to the UN Refugee Agency, some 6.6 million Syrians have been forced to leave the country over the past decade. 

‘I want to go home' 

Ahmad Muhammed, another resident of Zifir Camp, which was wrecked by the rains, also said living conditions are challenging because they are unable to sleep on rainy nights, urging international donors to deliver assistance as quickly as possible during this difficult time.

"We don't have tarps to shelter us from the weather, and rainfall has already entered our tent," he said.

"This is something we want to get rid of. Now all I want to do is get back home, to provide for my children's basic needs and to make enough money to purchase the bread," he said, expressing his frustration, visibly weary by the current difficulties they are facing as a result of the Assad regime and extreme weather conditions. 

Situation in Idlib 

At the Astana meeting in 2017, Turkey, Russia and Iran decided to establish four "de-escalation zones" in areas outside of Assad's control.

The regime, Iran-backed terrorists and Russia intensified their attacks, taking three of the four districts and marching on Idlib. Despite the fact that Turkey and Russia struck an additional agreement in September 2018 to bolster the cease-fire, the strikes resumed in May 2019.

The cease-fire has been mainly maintained since the new agreement between Turkey and Russia on March 5, 2020.

Approximately 2 million people fleeing the attacks had to travel to areas near the Turkish border between 2017 and 2020./aa

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