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Internally displaced people in Syria

The relentless war in Syria has led to a rise in the number of internally displaced people (IDPs). Millions of them have had to leave their homes behind – including children. Syria counts to about 7 million IDPs , while another 5.6 million Syrians have fled across borders. A ceasefire in Northwest Syria since early 2020 has not prevented clashes in Idlib where the humanitarian situation remains alarming.

These refugees face many hardships while trying to make their way to more secure lands. Their options are limited: either manage to arrange food for your children or defend them from the cold.

Heavy rains and floods in north-west Syria in Jan 2021 has worsened the plight of many IDPs, destroying their tents, food and belongings. More than 67,600 have been reported to have been affected, and more than 3,760 tents destroyed and over 7,720 damaged.

Without sufficient “winterisation” – shelters and camps to help the refugees withstand the harsh conditions – they could resort to negative coping mechanisms, such as burning unsafe materials for heat, raising the risk of fire outbreaks. This is a trend one sees in camps in Greece.

Most displaced Syrians, fleeing the violence in their country, make their way to Lebanon, Iraq, and Jordan. Unfortunately for the refugees, the residents in these countries are surviving in precarious conditions themselves, especially during the harsh winters. As a result, the existing infrastructure cannot support the influx of displaced persons. Now in its tenth year, Syria’s civil war, began as part of the Arab spring protests which swept the region in 2011.

The conflict led to 1.8 million new displacements in 2019, mostly the result of military offensives in the north-east and north-west of the country. Close to 6.5 million people were living as internal displaced individuals as of the end of the year, the highest figure in the world. In the first half of 2020, there were 1,474,000 new displacements resulting from the conflict and violence.

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