A heavy snowstorm has affected a camp for internally displaced Syrians in the city of Afrin, in the rebel-held rural area of northern Aleppo. They have been left without shelter and without food.
There are more than 2,000 victims. Many spent the night outdoors after hundreds of tents collapsed. Some families were moved to more protected buildings.
“Displaced people trapped in camps that are cut off in remote areas of northern Syria are crying out for help after their tents were buried under snow during a heavy storm last night.”, the UN deputy humanitarian coordinator for Syria, Mark Cutts, warned on his Twitter account.
He explained that the most affected areas are Afrin and Azaz, both under the control of Turkish forces and located in the northwestern province of Aleppo, adding that the snowfall has caused roadblocks, damaged tents and “They have made life even more difficult for the displaced in the camps.”
Also known as White Helmets, rescuers and health workers who operate in the areas of Syria in the hands of the opposition, warned of the impact of the snowfall on the displaced community, “unable to get materials to warm up” and with their basic needs uncovered.
According to the group, which is involved in the drainage work in the flooded fields and in the removal of snow from the roads, the torrential rains that have fallen in recent hours have “sunk” hundreds of tents in the town of Atma, in the Idlib province, the last opposition stronghold in the country.
For this same reason, around 95 families residing in camps in the north of Idlib, a region in which more than half of the population is displaced due to the armed conflict, had to leave the area, according to a statement from the NGO Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
The snow storms also hit neighboring Lebanon, where they have left some roads closed and significant drops in temperatures, to which the nearly 1.5 million Syrian refugees who have fled to their territory are especially vulnerable, many of whom reside in camps.
“From Arsal in Lebanon to Afrin in rural Aleppo, the white visitor increased the suffering of refugees, destroying shops and blocking roads. Children and the elderly were freezing last night without a roof over their heads.”, denounced on Twitter the Independent Association of Doctors, present in Azaz and other points in Aleppo.