"We're spending Ramadan here against our will," says Mona Mutayr, a Syrian woman who was displaced from her hometown due to the regime's bombardments and settled near the Turkish border, referring to the Muslims' holy month of fasting.
Outside her makeshift tent, Mutayr lays out a frugal meal of potatoes and cucumber for her family who was forced to flee their home earlier this month and set up camp in an olive grove.
"The days are long and hard," said 31-year-old Mutayr to Agence France-Presse (AFP), wearing a long red and black dress and matching headscarf as she prepared the evening meal while a small group of barefooted children waited for their food under a canvas tent strung up around a tree trunk.
Under her tent in the area of Atme, Mutayr sits cross-legged on the dry red earth, stooped over a potato she peeled with a small knife.
"I made a little less potatoes for them today," she said, before laying out a plate of fries and two others of diced cucumber in what appeared to be thinned down yoghurt.
It's a far cry from Ramadans past in their hometown of Humayrat in the north of the province of Hama, she said, when she and her family would break their fasts with a feast in the garden under a canopy of grapevines.
"There was plenty of water and electricity. It was a good life," she said.
Idlib is the opposition's last enclave. Its prewar population of 1.5 million has swelled to around 3 million with new refugee waves after it was designated a "de-escalation zone" under the Astana agreement between Turkey, Russia and Iran in May 2017 to pave the way for a permanent political solution in Syria. Tens of thousands of Syrians trapped in other parts of the country were evacuated there under various cease-fire agreements. However, after the regime attacks escalated, the inhabitants of the city began to flock to territories liberated by Turkey through operations Olive Branch and Euphrates Shield, including cities near the Turkish border.
"Look what's become of us now... Sometimes there's not enough food," she said. Charities sometimes donate Ramadan meals of rice and chicken to those at the makeshift camp, but Mutayr says her family has not received such aid in four days. "Our life has become heat and dust," she said. All around her, families have pitched shelters made of canvas strung between trees, their tops tied to branches and bottoms weighed down with clumps of earth.
A lone goat rummages for food as a woman hangs clothes out to dry on a line. Not far off, 42-year-old Hussein al-Nahar, his pregnant wife and their six children are also spending their first Ramadan homeless.
"How is someone supposed to feel when they're forced from their home during Ramadan?" said the agricultural worker. "It's so tragic. We have nothing," he added. Nahar arrived in Atme a little more than two weeks ago after fleeing regime barrel bombs being pelted down on his hometown of Kafr Nabuda, in the north of Hama.
Surrounded by her children, Nahar's wife, 30-year-old Rihab, strokes the hair of a small boy resting his head in her lap.
Pregnant with her seventh child, she has no idea how the family will celebrate Ramadan Bayram (Eid al-Fitr), the holiday marking the end of Ramadan when many children receive new clothing.
"The children want new clothes for Eid, but we don't have the money," she said, dressed in a long grey robe and beige headscarf.
"We don't even have enough blankets," she added.
As the sun sets, Rihab's family gathers around a small portion of chicken and rice donated by a charity and a plate of fried potatoes she has prepared.
In previous Ramadans, "we wouldn't want for anything," she said.
But today, "we sit around waiting for meals from charities, though sometimes we don't get any," she said.
The day before there was nothing to cook, she said, adding that they only had bread and tea.
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