"We were stuck, we didn't know where to go." 900,000 people are displaced in northwest Syria, in less than 3 months.

 Emergency Response
 19th Feb 2020

Photo: Pictured is Mounir outside the informal tent, where he lives with his family, IYD/CARE

Mounir was displaced with his family from their home in northwest Syria. They currently live in one of the informal tented settlement in northern Idlib, with many other displaced families and without any resources.

"My family and I were living a stable life, but suddenly our village and homes were bombed, so we had to flee to another rural area, where we lived for two and a half years. Then again, on a cold, rainy winter day, there was sudden, renewed bombing there, so we had to flee again. Our belongings were loaded into vehicles, as the rain poured. We were stuck, we didn't know where to go."

"We fled to one of the mountains nearby, where families were sharing tents. Some tents accommodate four families, but there are no private spaces inside them. There are no water pipes that reach this area, so we have to walk a long distance and carry water back to our tents. The tent we live in does not protect us from the rain or the cold weather. The rain water flows around us and there is nothing we can do. We do not have heating or even firewood to stay warm. I wish there is enough assistance for everyone here and that it is distributed fairly. We are 17 people in this tent – my family members include the three children of my son, who was killed. We all live and sleep in one tent,” he says.

In the last two weeks, northern Syria witnessed the largest wave of displacement thus far, due to the violent targeting of residential areas. Women, children, elderly people, and men are running to unknown destinations in search of safety, but these new destinations may not be less dangerous than their destroyed areas.

Photo: Syria Relief/CARE

More than 900,000 people have been displaced since 1 December 2019, according to the United Nations, mainly from Saraqib, Ma`rat al-Numan and southern Idlib in general. This represents the largest displacement of people since the conflict in Syria began in 2011 and the numbers are likely to increase as hostilities continue. Many people have already been displaced multiple times and are having, yet again, to flee the violence.

Some 2.8 million out of the four million people living in northwestern Syria are in need of humanitarian assistance. The most important needs include having a place to sleep, food, and cash to buy their most basic needs. CARE is particularly concerned about the well-being of women and children, who make up at least 80 percent of the displaced, especially during the harsh winter season as temperatures in some areas are dipping below zero. Rain, snow and freezing temperatures across northwest Syria have made living conditions unbearable for some 450,000 displaced people who are living in camps, unfinished or destroyed buildings, or even out in the open, with no roof or cover to protect them.

CARE’s Response:
CARE has been providing aid in Syria since 2014 and has reached more than 5 million people so far. Over the last year, CARE has reached more than 1 million people in Syria, including more than 650,000 women. Together with partners in northwest Syria, CARE is responding to the current intensification of hostilities by providing clean water and sanitation, maternal and reproductive healthcare, and psychosocial support to people affected by the crisis.

CARE is also distributing relief supplies, such as food baskets, ready-to-eat rations, hygiene and baby packages, kitchen supplies, mattresses and winter supplies, including blankets and children’s clothing. Throughout this period, CARE has supported evacuation efforts from urban centers being targeted by airstrikes and is also supporting a network of ambulances. Through a network of partners inside Syria, CARE has reached over 160,000 people between 21 December 2019 and 13 February 2020. 

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