Winter conditions exacerbate problems of IDPs on Syria-Turkey border

Internally displaced people residing on the Syria-Turkey border have bemoaned their current situation and have called for greater help in overcoming the treacherous winter conditions.

Many of those displaced, which include young children, fled with little to no belongings and are residing in tents surrounded by roads and fields of mud.

The cold winter conditions and heavy rain over the past few days have also compounded the misery of the displaced, as many tents have been inundated with mud and water. As a result, people have been attempting to remove water – in some cases up to a metre high – with little success. Some are still unable to enter their tents.

“I was with my brother-in-law with his little children,” began one man. “Suddenly, as we were sitting in the tent, we felt pressure coming from the back and water coming in from the door. We could not save anything”.

“There was a lot of water and it was about a metre high. The river flooded from that direction and the water entered the tent from here. We did not save anything, as you can see. We only took the children out of the tent.”

Many of the displaced have fled from Idlib and Aleppo Provinces due to the fighting in the regions over the past days and weeks.

In Idlib, a government assault on the largest rebel-held area has reportedly displaced tens of thousands of people, some internally within the wider Idlib Province and some to the Turkish border. While the offensive has largely stopped for now, airstrikes are continuing on towns further west such as Maarat al-Numan and Saraqib.

In Aleppo Province, fighting is ongoing between the Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army rebels and the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) around the city of Afrin, northwestern Syria, on the Turkish border. Turkey considers the YPG an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).