Civilians in eastern Aleppo faced long months of the worst humanitarian crisis during in the six-year war, only to be evacuated to another area that will witness more suffer and misery unless the world decided to help them.
The long months of crippling siege on 275.000 civilians in eastern Aleppo, starvation policy, daily bombardment, fierce clashes and bloody massacres ended when the Assad regime and its allies were able to oblige the rebels in Aleppo to surrender and make an agreement to leave the area they have been holding since 2012 after losing more than 90% of it.
More than 1500 civilians were killed and thousands were injured from September until the announcement of the ceasefire, and the residents had lived in great deprivation without functioning hospitals and with little electricity and water in freezing winter conditions.
As part of an agreement between Turkey and Russia, 40.000 of rebels and civilians were evacuated from eastern Aleppo to rebel-held Idlib, allowing the Assad regime to take full control of the city after years of fighting.
The UN, The Turkish Red Crescent and other NGOs were participating in the evacuation process and transporting the civilians to their new destination.
The misery of the civilians is unlikely to end in Idlib, as the weather is freezing where their camps will be and as Assad regime has already started preparing for its next operation in Idlib.
Heavy snowfalls and freezing temperatures have aggravated the suffering of internally displaced people who have to endure dire conditions in inadequate makeshift tents. The displaced lack proper clothing and means for heating and depend on aid for food and medicine.
Children were seen wearing summer clothes in freezing temperatures. The health of many children deteriorated due to lack of food and bad sanitary conditions. The displaced have to melt snow to cover their needs of water.
The snow also hampered relief efforts as many roads were closed. Essential food aid could not reach the camp while sick children could not be transported to hospitals for treatment.
Russian jets stepped up strikes on several towns in Syria’s rebel-held Idlib province and rural Aleppo, adding more pressure to the exhausted area
The international community has so far failed to give an ear to the outcry of the Syrian people and turned a blind eye to the atrocities of the Assad regime time after time. However, there is still a chance for them to lend a helping hand to those in need in and around Idlib.
Diplomacy will play a crucial role at this moment as well. Turkey’s efforts on the table could prevent a new massacre from taking place in Idlib. Ankara’s trilateral talks with the Kremlin and Tehran could pave the way for a relatively more secure environment for those seeking safe haven in different parts of the country.
For Syrians, only time can tell if this is no more than wishful thinking.