Thousands of Syrian families are trapped at the Turkish border as they struggle to escape the front line of fighting. Many have young children to look after and nothing to protect them from the elements.
In the past few days, up to 70,000 people have fled Aleppo, Syria’s second city, as the regime pushes forward through northern Syria. With fighters on the ground supported by airstrikes, nowhere is safe and few buildings are still intact.
There is no clear route to safety, as the border crossing into Turkey at Bab al Salam is closed. Trapped between the encroaching army and a closed border, families have had no choice but to sleep outside in temperatures as low as -5°C.
We are determined to provide warmth and shelter for these families and a ShelterBox response team is currently based in the Turkish city of Gaziantep to identify how we can best we can support them.
ShelterBox operations coordinator Sam Hewett said: ‘These people have suffered enough, fleeing their homes due to warfare, and they deserve all our efforts to provide them with shelter, food, healthcare and safety.’
The team is working with long-term partners Hand in Hand for Syria to deliver the vital aid. Ahead of the arrival of sturdy, durable tents, the team is sourcing emergency kits to distribute to families. These kits contain blankets, mattresses and tarpaulins to protect people from exposure to the freezing conditions.
Around 4.6 million people have fled Syria since the civil war began in 2011, and another 13.5 million are said to be in need of humanitarian assistance inside the country. The majority of people have fled to the bordering countries of Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq. In Lebanon, a quarter of its inhabitants are now Syrian refugees.
ShelterBox has been supporting families displaced by Syria, both in the country and elsewhere, since 2012. Working with a range of partners in Syria, we have distributed a variety of essential items from tents and shelter kits, to thick blankets and cold-weather clothing for children. In the past year, we have been supporting refugee camps in Iraq and providing temporary respite for families arriving in Greece before continuing their journey onwards into Europe.
A donation of $120 will buy an emergency kit containing blankets, mattresses and tarpaulins for a family. By donating now, you can prevent another night of freezing winter conditions to people exhausted by war.