Um Ali used to be a resident of Aleppo until violence engulfed the city. After an explosive barrel bomb killed both her husband and her sister-in-law, Um Ali feared for her life and the lives of her family members. She was just 17 years old when she fled to Bab al-Salam, a camp for internally displaced peoples situated near the Syrian-Turkish border.
The conditions for internally displaced peoples, such as Um Ali, in IDP camps throughout the war torn country of Syria are dire. Many are suffering from a lack of effective shelter and a lack of goods and services, such as access to medicine and healthcare.
Um Ali is responsible for four young children, two of which require surgery.
“My little boy needs a 200,000 lira surgery, but I cannot pay that amount. I looked for a job but didn’t find one. I tried to collect money for him but I couldn’t get the amount I need,” she said, as she sat in her families tent.
Despite her dire circumstances and her inability to provide for her children, Um Ali has also taken orphans into her care, including a girl who lost her mother to an explosive barrel bomb and her father to a booby trap in Aleppo. With no work and limited access to food and drink in the camp, she believes that she has “no supporter but God”. Um Ali is forced to spend a majority of her time looking after the kids as there is an absence of another adult who can babysit for her.
Um Ali’s story of suffering and loss is a common occurrence in IDP camps across Syria.