Turkish humanitarian organizations have been providing winter aid to families living in Syria’s northwestern Idlib province as freezing temperatures continue to batter the region.
The Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH), as part of a campaign launched by the Istanbul-based IHH for Syrians in need, collected 2,500 blankets, 3,000 boots and coats in the Antalya province to send them to Idlib province in Syria.
The head of the foundation's Antalya branch, Mehmet Yıldırım, told Anadolu Agency (AA) that it had been organizing aid campaigns for those in need since the early stages of the civil war in Syria.
"Since the beginning of the war in 2011, IHH has been organizing aid campaigns during winters," he said.
He went on to say: "As the Antalya branch, we've sent 206 truckloads of aid to Syria so far."
Yıldırım said the donations in the latest shipment would be delivered to the IHH coordination center in Idlib.
Furthermore, another three charities have sent three trucks of humanitarian aid from Şanlıurfa province to the last opposition bastion under the campaign “Idlib is cold.”
The head of the Humanitarian Aid Platform, Osman Gerem, told Anadolu Agency (AA) that people in Idlib are trying to survive in makeshift tents. He elaborated that the platform was established after the Syrian crisis broke out in the country and consisted of 60 nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). The platform has so far sent 3,600 trucks of aid to Syrians living in Turkey and those in Syria.
“There is a humanitarian tragedy in Idlib. These people live under difficulties just next to us. Amid snow and mud, these 4.5 million people are trying to survive. Among them are orphans, widows, old and sick. Unfortunately, there is no country other than Turkey that's helping them,” he said, adding that although many organizations in Turkey provide help, it is not enough.
“In such cold weather, there are people living in their tents without blankets, bread, heating stoves and coal.”
Saying that on his visits to the region he witnessed children freezing and barefoot, he indicated that under the campaign “Idlib is cold,” boots, hats, jackets and other clothing are being provided for the children.
Snowfall and cold weather have made the situation difficult in Idlib's tent camps, with strong winds causing destruction.
In freezing temperatures, children huddle together to keep themselves warm, burning pieces of plastic, old shoes and scraps of wood they collect for kindling.
Living in a region where temperatures can drop to minus 5 degrees Celsius (23 degrees Fahrenheit), the victims of the civil war are unable to purchase fuel and are resorting to burning their clothes to heat their tents.
Turkish aid agencies and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) continue to assist those in urgent need in northwestern Syria. Many Turkish NGOs and state agencies, including the Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD), the Turkish Red Crescent (K%u0131z%u0131lay) and Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH), keep providing vital humanitarian aid and conducting humanitarian efforts in the region hosting nearly 4 million people.
The Idlib region is home to nearly 2.8 million displaced people and the last Syrian enclave to oppose the Bashar Assad regime in Damascus.
Idlib falls within a de-escalation zone forged under an agreement between Turkey and Russia in March 2020. However, the Assad regime has consistently violated the cease-fire terms, launching frequent attacks inside the de-escalation zone.