Syrian Conflict Survivors Suffer Bitter Conditions

To date, 12 million people have been displaced due to the war in Syria. They are in difficult conditions and in need of aid, especially because of the recent airstrike that took place amid freezing winter.

A recent airstrike in Idlib killed 18 following the escalation sice December 2019. (ACTNews)

ACTNews, IDLIB - Nearly 12 million people were displaced as a result of the conflict in Syria. Around 5,600,000 Syrians have to evacuate to other countries including Turkey and European countries, while 6,200,000 were displaced in their own country. This was stated by Bambang Triyono, Director of Global Humanity Response (GHR) - Aksi Cepat Tanggap (ACT) on Thursday (1/16).

"And don't forget that out of a total of 11.8 million refugees, there are 2.6 million children. We can imagine that throughout the 9 years of conflict, the victims that suffer the most are of course children. Of the 2.6 million children, 1.1 million are orphans, "Bambang added.

The situation in Syria has escalated following the airstrike in Idlib City. Additionally, around 350 thousand people have left the city of Idlib to evacuation sites in the northern region of Syria which borders Turkey.

"They live in harsh conditions. The older IDP have probably changed camps several times because they have been there for years. These 300 thousand people, however, they are newcomers. Some are accommodated by other IDP. There are those whose tents are not adequate for them to live in. Plus, this January, there has been another attack. Another influx of nearly 50 thousand IDP sought shelter in the northern region," Bambang explained.

Syrian children in one of the refugee camps on the Turkey-Syria border. As a result of repeated attacks in the Idlib Governorate, hundreds of thousands of people have sought refuge and safer places in North Idlib after the conflict in the Marat al Numan and surrounding areas escalated. (ACTNews)

Firdaus Guritno, member of GHR - ACT Team who was in Idlib a few days ago confirmed this. According to him, refugees are currently living in difficult conditions, considering winter has come in Syria.

"This is the reality in the IDP camps. Those who live in the camps have to both endure the winter and be threatened by the attack. The temperature reaches 3-5 degrees Celsius, especially at night, which is certainly very cold for the people in Idlib and its surroundings," Firdaus said.

Firdaus visited the IDP camp when the conflict was starting to escalate He was there from January 11 to January 12 to distribute food aid to the refugees and explained that winter had made the camps of the refugees wet because of the rain.

"The situation is very sad because the tents get wet and muddy, forcing some of them to be evacuated. Due to the terrain conditions of Idlib, it takes 2 to 3 days for the soil to completely dry. It has been raining quite frequently. The sanitation of the camps is also very, very bad because there are many camps that do not have toilets. They don’t have private nor public toilets, "said Firdaus.

ACT has always channeled humanitarian assistance especially during conflict escalations. ACT has a branch office in Turkey that serve also to monitor the conditions in Syria. Bambang explained that the humanitarian relief had always been distributed in the Turkish-controlled territories.

"So far, ACT’s humanitarian programs are often located in northern Syria, which borders Turkey directly. Some areas are under Turkish control, including Idlib. There are about hundreds of IDP there. We always implement ACT’s programs there," he said. Parts of Syria have been controlled by foreign countries due to the conflict, but ACT’s programs are always carried out in Turkish-controlled areas because it is relatively safe there.

Responding to the recent escalation of the conflict, ACT plans to prepare the Emergency House program for IDP by providing semi-permanent houses in Turkish areas, given the large number of refugees there.

"During conflict escalations where a means of transportation for the evacuation is needed, we will provide pickup vehicles to transport the IDP who want to evacuate," said Bambang. In addition, ACT also plans to build orphanages, considering that there are over 1 million orphans in Syria now.

In addition, ACT will continue the programs that had previously been initiated for Syria such as the construction of the flats Idlib which already accommodate about 25 families. The Indonesian Humanitarian Center (IHC) will also continue to distribute basic needs to the refugees, including food and winter supplies. []