For the hundreds of thousands of people displaced from the Idlib region, memories of home still burn vividly as they settle in camps across Syria and abroad.
Abu Muhammad, who is one of the very few people left in the town of Ariha, in Idlib province, recalls the memories he had of living with his neighbours and watching children play outside. This reality has now perished and all that is left in the town is rubble.
“This chandelier used to shine in the days of intimacy and love when people were visiting each other. Where are they now? No one stayed here and everyone has left. This village was inhabited by thousands, but they are now gone”, expressed Abu Muhammad.
He is one of the few to have stayed in his hometown, while most of the inhabitants of cities, towns and villages across the Idlib region that have been shelled by regime and Russian aircraft have fled to other parts of Syria or to other countries.
Displaced Syrian stranded in camps for internally displaced people (IDP) hold onto their memories of their hometowns as they struggle to get by without basic necessities and a place to call home.
The military escalation of the past few weeks in the Idlib region has led to what is considered the largest waves of displacement recorded throughout the Syrian civil conflict. Over a million people have been forced to leave their homes and seek shelter elsewhere.
The military conflict in the region has been fought between the regime’s Syrian Arab Army and Russia on one side, and a variety of Syrian rebel groups and Turkey on the other side. The recent increased involvement of Turkey on the side of the rebels in Idlib has shifted the balance of power in a battle that seemed to be more one-sided beforehand.
Russia and Turkey are having an indelible impact on the conflict. The two sides recently agreed on a ceasefire that has brought relative calm to the Idlib region in the short-term.