IDLIB, Syria

Braving harsh winters, Syrian fathers stay awake at night to make sure their children do not to freeze to death in opposition-held Idlib.

Hundreds of tents in the internally displaced persons (IDP) camps in Idlib along the border between Turkiye and Syria were destroyed recently due to heavy snowfall and downpour.

The families living there scavenge for plastic and cardboard during the day so that they can light a bonfire at night to stay warm.

Yasir Barri, who was displaced from his hometown Hama due to incessant attacks by the Bashar al-Assad regime, said: “Right now we don’t have a stove or anything to burn to heat the tent.”

Living with a family of 12, including seven children, Barri said: “We burn old shoes and plastic we collect from the garbage to keep the children warm.”

“If I could I would give them a piece of my heart to eat. But I can’t. I can’t find a job. We live on monthly aid,” he added.

Huseyin Nasir, another resident at the camp, said he uses a gas cylinder for cooking and keeping the tent warm for his child, who stays wrapped in a blanket.

“I cannot work. My wife works in the fields for seven Turkish liras ($0.5) a day. All I want is a house and a stove to keep my son warm,” said Nasir, who has poor eyesight.

Syria has been ravaged by a civil war since early 2011 when the Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protesters.

The Idlib de-escalation zone was forged under an agreement between Turkiye and Russia. The area has been the subject of multiple cease-fire agreements, which have been frequently violated by the Assad regime and its allies.

The situation for the people in Idlib worsened when the Assad regime, backed by Russia and Iran, launched an offensive on the province, causing large-scale displacement.

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